Virginia Middle-Schooler Takes Grand Prize at NASA Langley Student Art Contest

©Anna Fox

First place entry

Anna Fox, a seventh-grader from Virginia Beach Middle School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was named as the grand prize winner of Langley Research Center's Student Art Contest.

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"I was very excited when I heard that I won first place for my grade," Anna said. "But when I heard that I won grand prize, I was speechless."

A record 831 entries were submitted from hundreds of children in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with 13 students earning first-place honors in grade levels K-12 and the opportunity to be considered for the grand prize, said Kristina Cors, Langley Student Art Contest coordinator.

"But when I heard that I won grand prize, I was speechless," Anna Fox said. "I was very excited when I heard that I won first place for my grade," Anna Fox said. "But when I heard that I won grand prize, I was speechless." Credits: Courtesy of Anne Baker "We hope this contest continues to grow and provide a place for students to explore science and technology through creativity," she said.

The art contest theme, "The Next 100 Years," was intended to illustrate how NASA research and innovation propels science to new discoveries.

"This year's artwork was particularly remarkable, and represented the theme 'The Next 100 Years' with imagination and immense talent," Cors said.

Anna's winning piece shows a deep-space scene with an astronaut planting a flag on a planet's mountain while watching a rocket fly off in the distance in a sky populated by stars, galaxies and a moon.

"When I started drawing, I had no idea what to do, so I had looked at a bunch of videos on how to do galaxies for inspiration," Anna said. "After that I randomly placed colors together until I found something I liked. It all started coming together from there."

Once she got an idea in motion, Anna did her work using old and new techniques.

"I created my artwork digitally on Photoshop," Anna said. "I had started with basic colors for the background, including the explosion behind the rocks. Then, on another layer I created the rocks, planet, astronaut and rocket ship taking off. Later I added detail on all the layers to look more realistic. The last step was to add all of the stars and galaxies, which I did with a special brush."

Anna, who has been an artist for as long as she could pick up a pencil, said she started drawing digitally when she was 11, inspired by her father's work on a computer.

"I think the best part of creating art is having fun with it and inspiring others to do art as well," she said.

Anna said she always had an interest in space and the art contest was a perfect vehicle to express that.

"I think that the coolest thing about NASA is that they help so many people achieve their dreams, and send people to do what not a lot of people get to do," Anna said.

For her grand-prize victory, Anna received a certificate, and a NASA Exploration Package of posters, pens, stickers, patches and lapel pins. Her artwork will be displayed at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, Virginia.

The 13 grade-level winners were selected by a panel of five judges from the Hampton Roads art community, and the grand champion was picked by Langley employees. Each piece was evaluated on originality, interpretation of subject matter/theme, creative techniques, composition and overall art appearance.

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