VICENZA, Italy – Two art pieces of a Vicenza High School freshman won in the 2021 Boys and Girls Club of America National Arts Contest. This past April, the winner, Veronica Layne participated in the annual event open to children and youth ages 5-18.
The U.S. Army Garrison Italy Youth Center hosted a ceremony Sept. 2, where Col. Matthew J. Gomlak, garrison commander, recognized her achievement.
“She [Veronica] is extremely artistic and her interests expand beyond photography, to include painting, drawing, and other media,” said Davisen Poorcelan, USAG Italy Child and Youth Services youth program director.
“The CYS program takes part each year to highlight our talented, resilient youth,” he said.
Poorcelan explained that the art contest begins during late fall or early winter.
“There is a local, regional and national process that is followed. In past years, we have partnered with the garrison Vicenza libraries to create a gallery-like display to showcase the talents of the children and youth,” Poorcelan said.
According to him, after the regional judging events in July, at the center they were excited to see that several local winners had moved on to be judged at the national level.
“The national judging event took place throughout August,” he said, “and by the end of the month, we heard the announcement that Veronica won twice.”
After being encouraged to participate in the contest, Layne selected many of her photos.
“I chose my six best photos,” said the 14-year-old participant. “Then I picked two of them. I had no idea what the contest was, but I thought it was interesting and I wanted to give it a shot.”
The first photo “Thinking” is a portrait of her mother. It was taken in the summer of 2020 in Malcesine, at Lake Garda.
“She took it with my phone,” said Layne’s mother Olga Fiyalko, “shortly after we arrived in Vicenza.”
According to Fiyalko, this photo has a special meaning, because it was taken after having medical treatments.
The other piece, “Let it Snow” features one of the few snowfalls in Vicenza. In addition to placing first, it also received a “Judges Choice”, only given out to a few pieces of art.
Since becoming a high school student, Layne will now be involved with the CYS Keystone Club, the high school equivalent to the CYS Torch Club where she was an active member.
“I think everybody should always try and learn new things. You never know, you may like it,” she said.
The winning artwork will be displayed at special events throughout the year and featured in BGCA’s online arts gallery. The two pieces have been sent to BGCA headquarters in Georgia to be displayed for the year.