By Ronny Reyes and Tibian Ahmed
The opening ceremony and awards reception of the 20th Long Island’s Best: Young Artist at the Heckscher Museum will be held on April 16 at the museum in Huntington, officials in charge of the event said.
The event, which awards the best young artists in Long Island schools, will be a juried exhibition that features works of art created by 83 students from 44 schools, vetted from a record-setting 357 submissions, Deborah Johnson, head of marketing for the Heckscher Museum, said.
The Heckscher Museum’s exhibitions change every few months.
“Students come to the museums throughout the year and see exhibits,” Johnson said. “Then they make their own works of art inspired by the original works they saw.”
Around 57 high schools with art programs from all over Long Island visited the Heckscher Museum this year. Students were assigned to make their own interpretation of any piece of art available in the museum that they liked, museum officials said.
The students wrote a response of why they chose what they did and why it was important to them. The written response is featured by their work if it is chosen to be displayed.
“I look at the composition and style of their work and see where they drew the inspiration from the original piece,” Lisa Chalif, the curator for the Heckscher museum, said Calif was in charge of judging which of the submissions would be chosen for the exhibition.
“Those  pieces chosen are unusual and when you see it you see what the students are able to translate from their imagination into art,” Dr. Inna Gellerman, head of Gellerman Orthodontics in Huntington, said.
Gellerman has been sponsoring the Heckscher Museum’s catalog for almost six years. The catalog is distributed to families and teachers involved with the exhibition process.
“The competition gave me, and I’m sure a lot of other kids, a big sense of accomplishment for our work, ” Andrew Bischler, a Brooklyn-based artist who had previously won in 2004 and 2005, said.
The Long Island’s Best: Young Artist exhibition was the first show outside of Smithtown High School that Bischler attended. He said it let him see the talents of students outside of his own school and district.
The museum also brings representatives from art schools like Prat and the Boston School of Fine Arts to critique the students’ portfolios in order to give them feedback. The museum serves as an incubator for the quality of students that these schools want.
Many of the young artists go on to study art and culture, even film, Johnson said.
“This is one of the best attended exhibits, Gellerman said. “The museum is going to be full of people.”