NYC teen Valerin Sanchez of Bushick School for Social Justice in Brooklyn was named the winner of the Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square on June 15.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square in partnership with the New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation of Teachers named Valerin Sanchez of the Bushwick School for Social Justice in Brooklyn, New York as the winner of its Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge during the finalist competition held today at the 42nd Street Odditorium. Tasked with creating a work of art using unusual or traditional materials in an innovative way, Valerin paid tribute to Lady Liberty and her bright outlook for the future in “Sweet Freedom,” a portrait crafted completely from sweet, brightly-colored treats including tic tacs, Mike & Ike’s and jelly beans.
“We received over 60 creative submissions from students representing all five boroughs,” said Michael Hirsch, president and general manager of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square. “It was a tight competition. Each of the finalists truly captured the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! standard of unique and outrageous, but after seeing this “sweet” portrait up close, we knew we had a winner.”
Six New York City high school student finalists, chosen by a public vote, presented their unique pieces of art in front of an esteemed panel of judges for the chance to win the grand prize of having their artwork displayed at Ripley’s Times Square, a trip for two to Orlando to tour the Ripley’s warehouse including two tickets to Disney World, lifetime admission to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium, a free class trip for up to 40 students to Ripley’s Times Square, a $250 grant for art supplies, and a $500 cash prize. The school of the grand prize winner was awarded a $750 grant for art supplies.
Hirsch was among the panel of judges that included Edward Meyer, vice president of exhibits and archives of Ripley Entertainment Inc.; Joan Davidson, president of NYCTA/UFT; and Mario Asaro, executive vice president of NYCTA/UFT.
“This art challenge gave the students the opportunity to stretch and expand their ideas and creativity. We were impressed by the diversity of each individual work of art and the inspiration behind them” added Joan Davidson, president of NYCATA/UFT.
The second place prize, which included lifetime admission to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium, a free class trip for up to 40 students to Ripley’s Times Square, a $200 grant for art supplies, a $200 cash prize, and their artwork on display at the Odditorium, was awarded to Jordi Corado of the International High School in Brooklyn, NY, for “A Time for Change”, a portrait of President Obama solely constructed from recycled materials.
Angelie Cesario of the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, NY, was named third prize winner for her Broadway inspired creation “Broadway Show Dress,” constructed from 15 different playbills and 150 handmade paper flowers. Angelie received lifetime admission to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium, a $100 grant for art supplies, a $100 cash prize and her artwork on display at the Odditorium. The schools of the second and third prize winners were awarded grants for art supplies for $400 and $200 respectively.
Top finalists of the Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge included Joseph Holtz of the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, NY, with “Steppin Out With my Barbie,” a new take on classic high heels incorporating his love for Barbie, the ultimate fashionista; Oscar Flores of the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan with a “Dark Dream Dress,” a one-of-a-kind dress designed from 60 bags of synthetic hair; and Hanna Sklar of the Edward R. Murrow High School in Manhattan with “In Debt,” a symbolic sculpture of a hand in need crafted from 300 pennies.
“Sweet Freedom”, “A Time for Change”, and “Broadway Show Dress” will be on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square beginning June 15, 2013.
“Dark Dream” and “Broadway Show Dress” have been purchased by Edward Meyer, vice president of exhibits and archives of Ripley Entertainment Inc. and will remain permanent exhibits within the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! collection.
From Oct. 14, 2012 through April 5, 2013, students from participating NYC classrooms, grades 9-12, submitted artwork that utilized odd and bizarre materials or traditional materials in an inventive way. All entries were to exemplify the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” standard of being unusual and/or unique. Believe It or Not! creations currently displayed at the museum include a gumball portrait of the president, clothing made out of egg beaters, statues constructed from car parts, and much more.
About Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square
Located in Times Square in the heart of New York City, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium brings people of all ages face-to-face with the world’s most unbelievable curiosities. With 18,000 square feet of astonishing artifacts, exclusive oddities, exciting interactive exhibits and heart-stopping sideshow performers, this one-of-a-kind attraction welcomes visitors to experience the unusual and unexpected, where the entire family will rediscover wonder around every corner. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square is open from 9am–1am.