Award Winning Art Student Addresses Pollution

  • Art Student Ava Herrera Addresses Pollution with Gown Design

    Making a statement about pollution with her dress design, Sayville Sophomore Ava Herrera sewed the gown that won her recognition and an award at the annual Heckscher Museum's Long Island’s Best Show.


    For this year’s prestigious show, the Heckscher Museum had received 387 works of art from fifty-four Long Island High Schools. The competition was fierce, but the Museum adjudicators chose eighty-four for their exhibition and each of these pieces had to be worthy of the nomenclature “Long Island’s Best.”


    “The show had incredible work this year,” Sayville Art Department Chairperson Debbie Urso said. “For Ava to receive an award was a huge testament to her amazing talent and teachers. She created the piece for the show in Jen Berotti's Advanced Drawing and Painting class.”


    The idea for Ava’s design began with her class field trip earlier in the year to the Heckscher Museum. While there, Ava “saw a work that inspired her,” teacher Jen Berotti explained, “and sketched it.” This class trip and the follow-up assignment led to her creating the award-winning dress design showcased at the Long Island’s Best Show.


    Ava explained her concept for the work:

    In Phillip Gladkov’s #6, I was inspired by his use of form and use of raw garbage to depict a striking message about the extinction of different species and deterioration of the natural world.

    I have designed a dress that is my interpretation of his piece coming to life as Mother Nature. She is a strong, beautiful woman who lives in modern times. However these modern times have brought pain and suffering to her. She is being suffocated by the black oil around neck and dripping down her dress. The pollution is also represented by the garbage that collects at her feet. The garbage attached to her dress she has been resilient enough to survive, but not for long. These horrors that she faces are all around us, even at Halesite Park, on the Huntington Harbor where I hand selected the pieces of garbage I wanted to include in my dress. By displaying my dress in Huntington, I hope to raise awareness for the prevention of pollution in our everyday environments.


    “Then to make her selection for the exhibit—plus the Joseph Mack Achievement award—even more meaningful for her,” Mrs. Berotti summed it up, “she got to meet the artist of her inspiration piece, Philip Gladkov!”

    Congratulations, Ava!