Alex Rios-Diaz entered for Artist of the Week

Taylor Kenyon

Artsonia, an online art gallery that displays slide shows from school art collections nationwide, selected sophomore Alex Rios-Diaz’s clay bowl to be entered into their Artist of the Week competition. Although her bowl did not win the competition, her work did receive more than 1,000 votes.

Rios-Diaz first developed an interest in art after her taking clay class during her freshman year; Mrs. Theresa Puffer’s clay-encrusted room became her home. She works for weeks on each of her pieces. “I like to make something that is not usual, that just kind of pops out. I really like using bright colors,” said Rios-Diaz.

Rios-Diaz takes pride in her piece that won the votes of many people nationwide. Her success in pottery has led her to work on a wider range of art pieces including her current piece: a piano. “With wheel, it just kind of comes out how it comes out, and with hand, I do more difficult pieces. I have this tree-type thing [that] I made by hand; [it] is my favorite,” said Rios-Diaz.

Mrs. Puffer began adding student art work to the Artsonia website as a way to display the artistic talents her students hold. She never expected that one of the 68 pieces uploaded to the BSM collection would be chosen out of more the 10 million pieces exhibited on the website. “One day I got a message saying that Alex’s piece had been chosen for the Artist of the Week competition out the 18,000 that are uploaded each week,” said Mrs. Puffer.

Rios-Diaz’s clay bowl joined 11 other pieces, all taken from artists ranging between prekindergarten to seniors in high school. The competition, open to the public for voting, occurs each week from Wednesday until Saturday. The winners from four different age groups are posted on Sunday, and their school receives $100 and the student receives $50. “I don’t think she was far behind the winner, who got 1,717 votes, but their website says that more than 22,000 votes were cast that week,” said Puffer.

Even though Rios-Diaz did not win the competition, clay work continues to be her favorite art form. She also looks forward to creating more vibrant pieces and continuing her artistic career into college. “I just started taking art classes last year; clay has become my favorite because I have more control over what I am doing,” said Rios-Diaz.