Deer Park Duo Displayed Among ‘Long Island’s Best’

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Two accomplished young artists from the high school, Regina Ambrosio and Jaelyn Voigt, were among an elite group of only 83 Nassau and Suffolk students selected for the 20th annual “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” gallery show. The seniors’ work was chosen from 357 submissions received by the Heckscher from 53 Long Island public and private schools. It was the first time Deer Park had earned two Long Island’s Best selections.

Ambrosio and Voigt, along with their families and art teacher Derek Mainhart, attended an April 6 opening reception and awards ceremony at the Heckscher.

Long Island’s Best, a comprehensive arts-in-education program which integrates Huntington’s Heckscher Museum and Nassau and Suffolk high school art classrooms, serves to encourage student-artists to find inspiration in works on display at the museum, using the experience to create their own original works of art. This process ends with a juried exhibition, the only one on Long Island providing high school students a chance to have their artwork displayed in an art museum.

“This was a fantastic art show,” said Bradley Murphy, the district’s curriculum associate for fine and performing arts.. “It was so nice to witness such an incredible turnout for a truly amazing set of students.”

Ambrosio’s piece, “Flora of the Feminine Figure,” which she created in Mainhart’s Advanced Placement studio in art class, won the event’s Donald & Gloria Horn Scholarship Award. A mixed media melding of botanical structures and the female form, it was inspired by Michelle Stuart’s 1989 work “Voyage to the South Seas: Flora Australis.”

“The show was an incredible learning experience and a wonderful memory,” said Ambrosio. “Seeing the other pieces that my peers across Long Island created that were inspired by pieces on display in the museum was fascinating.”

Voigt noted that taking Mainhart’s AP class this year pushed her outside of her comfort zone, enabling her to create abstract pieces such as mixed media effort “Emotional Trash,” which was inspired by Francine Tint’s 1999 work “Cloud Nine.”

“I had a great experience at the Heckscher Museum,” Voigt said. “I felt so incredibly honored to have my piece chosen to be on display, and my family and I had a lot of fun.”

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing my students’ talent and hard work recognized,” said Mainhart. “I couldn’t be prouder of Jaelyn and Regina. Long Island’s Best is an inspiring event every year, and Deer Park has been represented three years in a row. I look forward to next year.”