BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It’s called the Taste of Buffalo but the event will have some Lockport flavor.
That’s because students from Lockport High School swept the top three prizes in the Taste of Buffalo and Tops Markets annual poster contest.
Students from all over Western New York were asked to create a work of art promoting the June event. The winning artwork will be incorporated into some of the 2013 Taste marketing materials, officials said, showcasing the winner’s talent across the region and at the Taste.
Sophomore Julia McMahon took home the top prize, winning $500 in cash and another $500 for the Lockport art department. She will also be treated as a VIP at the Taste of Buffalo in June.
McMahon, 16, said art teacher Diane DeYoung told her to check her mailbox one day. Inside was a letter from the Taste of Buffalo informing her that she was the grand prize winner.
”It was a surprise,” McMahon said.
All of the entries had to incorporate a buffalo, some kind of food and make a reference to the event’s 30th anniversary. McMahon’s entry was a color pencil drawing featuring a buffalo, a cityscape and a fork with pasta twirled in it. McMahon said the fork with the pasta wrapped around it was inspired by Starry Night, a famous painting by Vincent van Gogh.
”I had drawer’s block, you could say,” McMahon said. “I wanted to be creative.”
Art has been a passion for McMahon ever since she started taking lessons at the Market Street Art Center when she was 8-years-old. Although she plans to study biology in college, art is something that will remain important to her.
”It’s something I enjoy, I don’t want it to be something I have to do,” she said.
Erin Geier, 17, a junior, was named first runner-up. Sophomore Melanie Fonner, 15, was named the second runner-up. Both students won the chance to shadow an art professional, Geier will get to follow one of SKM Group’s art directors for a day, while Fonner will go to the New Era Cap Co. for half-day job shadowing.
Like McMahon, Geier and Fonner were informed by mail they had won. Both were pretty happy to receive the news. Neither have ever entered an art contest before.
”I was excited,” Geier said.
Geier used oil pastels to create her work, which centered around a buffalo that looks like it’s ready to eat. Fonner’s creation was a color pencil drawing that featured a buffalo surrounded by different kinds of food.
Fonner went through a series of sketches in DeYoung’s class before picking out which poster to submit.
The winning trio was recognized and congratulated by trustees at the April 17 Board of Education meeting. DeYoung, who teaches all three students, said over 60 posters were submitted for the contest.THE WINNERS • Sophomore Julia McMahon won first prize, winning $500 in cash for herself and $500 for LHS, as well as VIP treatment at the Taste in June • Junior Erin Geier was named first runner-up, followed by sophomore Melanie Fonner as the second runner-up, both students won the chance to shadow an art professional Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.