A ‘Push’ to the Top for Artist Mills

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High school senior Asante Mills was one of only 80 Long Island student-artists recognized for the recent “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” gallery show, chosen out of hundreds of submissions.

A comprehensive arts-in-education program integrating Huntington’s Heckscher Museum and Nassau and Suffolk high school art classrooms, Long Island’s Best encourages students to be inspired by works on display at the museum, using the experience to create their own original works of art. The process culminates in a juried exhibition, the only one on Long Island that provides high school students the chance to see their artwork on display in an art museum.

Mills’s stunning, colorful piece “Push,” created from latex paint, rubber cement and cardboard, was inspired by Maria Robertson’s 2012 installation “222,” part of the Heckscher’s exhibition “Modern Alchemy: Experiments in Photography.”

“My piece represents the outward movement of waves from a droplet’s impact point,” he explained. “I wanted to capture the dispersion of energy through liquid media.”

Accompanied by his proud mother and art teacher Derek Mainhart, Mills attended the March 28 opening reception and awards ceremony at the Heckscher, enjoying the opportunity to converse with viewers and fellow artists alike.

“Receiving direct feedback was the greatest personal gain for me, as I was able to interact with the audience as they experienced my piece,” he said. “The time spent in the museum was engaging, as I found peers that shared a similar drive and interest in fine arts. It was an honor to be a part of the show.”

“It’s great to see Asante recognized by such a fine institution as the Heckscher,” said Mainhart. “His art is already at a professional level both in concept and execution. I daresay this will not be the last time you see Asante’s work in a museum.”