SMS student Jayden Gross Wins National Art Contest

SMS student Jayden Gross Wins National Art Contest

Seventh-grade student Jayden Gross is drawing her way to success.

By winning the “I Love My County Because…” art contest, Gross’s art will be featured in the 2024 wall calendar and in a gallery at the National Association of Counties headquarters in Washington, D.C., receiving a $100 gift card.

  This contest was run by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in an effort to “bolster civic education and educate communities on the role of county government,” inviting grades K-12 to make an art piece.  The contest was also sponsored by the Americans for the Arts, a large national arts advocacy and research organization.

Gross has won with a colorful painting of the Shrewsbury Fireman’s Carnival. Gross’s painting may look like it took hours, but Gross says otherwise.

 “There was not a very deep meaning to this painting,” Gross said. “I had drawn a small sketch  over the summer, then I just brought it to life and added a bit to it.”

Gross’s art is an overlook of the fair, looking down from a Ferris wheel. Image Screenshot Courtesy of the Southern Way Newsletter

The painting is supposed to be a bird’s eye view of a fair with bright colors and shapes. Gross’s art skills enabled her to create the piece quickly.

 “ It only took a few minutes because I already knew how I wanted it to look, and I wanted to take the perspective of looking over a fair or carnival;… I just brainstormed multiple ideas and brought my favorite to life,”  Gross said. 

Gross has always had a passion for art, and she was very shocked by her win.

 “Winning the contest made me feel proud of myself, and considering it was a national contest, I was very surprised,” Gross said.

 Gross has always had a passion for art, and she does not plan on changing that. 

“I want to go to college for something art-related and pursue some type of art career,” Gross said. 

Gross has a very ambitious personality. 

“I wanted to join the art contest because I love submitting things to competitions,” Gross said.  “When it comes to art, I get pretty competitive.”

Middle school art teacher Abby Eakins has supported Gross throughout her 7th-grade art experience, whether it was with supplies, ideas, inspiration or just giving Gross confidence. 

 “ I think Jayden’s passion for art and her determination to enter a contest she knew was nationwide is what made her win! Also, her art skills- she works hard every day,” Eakins said. 

Eakins sees Gross’s passion and determination in art class. 

“I think that just like with anything, if you want to get better at something you need to continually work on it,” Eakins said. “ Jayden does just that;  she works on her art every day to get better. It’s been wonderful  seeing her progress over just these past few months.”

Gross’s art style is very different compared to many other students.

“Jayden has a very old-school style which is very rare for most middle schoolers,” Eakins said. “She likes old TV shows and the way that people dressed in the 1950s. I love that she has her style.” 

Eakins is excited for Gross’s future work.

“She carries her sketchbook with her everywhere, and usually has multiple projects going on at once,” Eakins said.“I’m currently excited about her  possibly painting a school mural next year.”

Gross always had and claims she always will have a passion for art.


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  • B

    BabsMar 11, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    Congrats to Jayden and also to Josie Witsik. Very well written!!

    The sky’s the limit for these two young ladies