Vase ace: Elk soph Nikita Skorykh earns slot in national show at Carnegie Hall

Nikita Skorykh will travel to New York where one of his vases will be in a national high school show. (Photo by Damien Husen)


by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

Two vases created by Nikita Skorykh earned honors in the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards (MSAA) program, and one of them will send the Elk River sophomore to Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Skorykh was one of 16 Minnesota students picked for gold awards at the national level by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. His vase at far right called “Falling Blue Bottle” will be among the art work displayed at Carnegie Hall from May 31 through June 6. Tickets to NYC will be provided to Nikita, his parents, Vasiliy and Olga, and his teacher, Damien Husen.

"Falling Blue Bottle" will appear in the national show.

At the state level, he received a Gold Key for his stoneware and a Silver Key for his multi-colored (red, blue, gold and gray) piece called “Raku Vase With Handles” in competition sponsored by Minnesota College of Art and Design. The 133 Gold Key picks (from  1,376 entries) were forwarded to the national jury, with Minnesota allotted 16 entrants.

Husen cited Skorykh for his “tremendous focus and energy” in every project.

“He develops sketches and concepts, seeks input and makes adjustments when necessary, putting in the extra time required to produce very unique and well-crafted pieces.”

Rather than simply completing assignments and waiting for further instruction, Skorykh  seeks inspiration from a variety of artists, cultures and historical periods, the teacher said.

“Each of these qualities add a heightened level of sophistication to his work.”

Skorykh has been involved with clay for two years.

“I will take clay in college and see how it goes,” he said. “Mostly likely it will be a hobby for life. I am very interested in clay and I want to make progress.”

Along with his art work, Skorykh has several activities outside of school including playing drums, video-taping, and church functions.

Last year, Austin and Eric Stevens each won golds and went to New York. Courtney Wirz got a silver. All were seniors. That was the first time ERHS students got that far, said Husen.

Skorykh is the first ERHS student to pick up two keys at the state level.

This piece earned a Silver Key at the state contest.

“It is extremely rewarding to see an ERHS student receive national recognition in ceramics,” said Husen. “As an instructor, I feel a great sense of pride knowing that pottery produced right here in Elk River will be exhibited in New York City along with the top artwork from schools across the nation.”

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards date back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.