Four students at Polk County High School have been selected for Showcase of Excellence, a juried art show and exhibition at Tryon Fine Arts Center. Their work will be featured during the Evening of Excellence reception on April 23 at 4 p.m.

The works were created under the instruction of Polk County High School art teacher Jeff Thomas, who submitted 10 pieces to the juried high school competition. “Self-Portrait” by Dylan Siniard was awarded First Prize in Mixed Media.

Works by students Haley Loyer, Joy Shanahan and Lily Nelson will also be included in the Showcase of Excellence exhibition at TFAC.

“In this fourth year of Showcase of Excellence, the program continues to grow in the number of schools participating, as well as the quality of works submitted,” said Mike Rigney, chair of the Showcase of Excellence committee at TFAC. “Showcase of Excellence provides high school students a unique opportunity to compete their creativity and talents against area-wide peers in six medium categories that are professionally juried and exhibited at TFAC.

“In addition to public recognition and opportunity for awards and prizes, student artists experience the challenge of generating commercial appeal for their artwork.”

Showcase of Excellence is an annual celebration of art students and classrooms in the region. Art educators in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina were invited to submit student work for the juried exhibition, currently on display at Tryon Fine Arts Center through April 23. More than 60 student works in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and mixed media were submitted from eight regional schools.

The Evening of Excellence reception at Tryon Fine Arts Center, set for April 23 from 4-6 p.m., recognizes the artists’ work with cash prizes and an art auction. Many of the students’ works will be available for sale, including Siniard’s award-winning piece. Tickets for Evening of Excellence are $20 each and are available at

Proceeds from Showcase of Excellence fund prizes for student artists and teachers and support Tryon Fine Art Center’s Be Inspired Grants (BIG) program. BIG provides funds to teachers in local classrooms to integrate arts experiences into the curriculum and encourages cross-discipline projects that would otherwise come from teachers’ own pockets.

Showcase of Excellence is supported by major sponsors including Rotary Club of Tryon Foundation, TD Bank, Kiwanis Club of Tryon, Main Street Insurance and Chris Bartol Photography