Maddie Peterson

Madelyn Conklin, Entertainment editor

For quite some time now, The Northern Light has been featuring an athletic MVP of the month in each edition of the newspaper. Now, we would like to feature artists at Portage Northern that certainly deserve great recognition. Due to her undeniable artistic talent and recent accomplishments, we have chosen Maddie Peterson (11) as this month’s art MVP.

Peterson’s art career dates back to as far as she can remember. “My dad always tells this funny story about me, how when I was in a high chair and he would have me draw and I would lay my head on the table and watch it. For a while, my mom thought that I was having trouble seeing, and so she wanted to take me to a doctor, and my dad was like, ‘No, she’s watching the crayon transfer from the crayon onto the paper,’” said Peterson. Over the years, her art skills have been developing and she has grown to be an extremely talented artist. “Maddie is a realist– she likes to create artwork containing elements that look real enough to be a photograph. She is drawn to images of beauty and tranquility in her work, as well,” said Sarah Nott, art teacher at PN. Recently, many art colleges have recognized Peterson’s talent, and she has been offered a $10,000 annual scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of Art and a $30,000 scholarship to Western Michigan University, where her own father graduated from their art program. Although she is unsure about her college plans and future career, she said, “My main goal is to use my art to help other people. I’ve really been looking into art therapy and either doing that with war veterans or kids with autism, because that kind of speaks to me.”

In addition to the scholarships, Peterson has recently received great recognition for one of her pieces titled “Pictured Rocks.” As a second year IB Art student, she was required to submit a piece to the Kalamazoo Institute of Art’s High School Area Show.  In addition to that, she chose to send this piece for submission to the Congressional Art Competition, and she made the right choice by submitting. This competition chooses artwork from different people around the country to hang in the U.S. Capitol, and all recipients are flown out to Washington D.C. for a reception. Of course, Peterson was Michigan’s 6th District recipient of 2016. “People I don’t even know in our school have come up to me and congratulated me. It’s a really cool feeling,” Peterson said.

Keep working. Don’t ever stop doing it because it’s really awesome to be able to sit down and create something

— Maddie Peterson

The piece “Pictured Rocks,” that Peterson won this contest and many other awards with, is interesting in itself. The piece is of the national park Pictured Rocks and given the illusion that the image is breaking out of a piece of paper, drawn with graphite and acrylic. Peterson actually drew the piece last year, and when asked why she chose to submit this year, Peterson said, “It’s actually kind of interesting because this year is the year of National Parks, so I knew that this piece was going to speak to people because of [that].” The other clever part of this piece is the illusion of the image breaking through the paper. Peterson says that the reasoning for that aspect is, “Last year we had a piece that was called ‘Loosely Inspired’ and we had to make a piece based on another artist’s work. An artist that I had been following on Instagram does pieces like that, but with colored pencil, and so that’s what I chose to do my piece on. I really liked the concept.”

Due to her talent as an artist, Peterson has deserved to be named The Northern Light’s Art MVP. “She is an asset to the program, and I’m glad to have her!” said Nott. Peterson’s career can be defined as a simple and successful one, with recognition awards given when recognition is due. Peterson leaves us with her piece of advice to fellow artists here at PN: “Keep working. Don’t ever stop doing it because it’s really awesome to be able to sit down and create something.”


Michigan 2015 recipients of Congressional Art Competition

– District 1: “Undone Seams” by Gabrielle Dobrzelewski

– District 7: “Interference” by Zachary Binroth

– District 8: “Heaven is High, Earth is Wide, and Hell Collides” by Ashley Gibbons

– District 12: “Patriotism” by Zahraa Alawieh
All 2015 Michigan winners at: