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Arizona Entertainment
Former South Mountain High School student sweeps Phoenix College art awards
Amelec Diaz, a South Mountain High School graduate, in front of one of his Phoenix College, award-winning creations. (Special to the Independent)

Amelec Diaz, South Mountain High School graduate, swept the Phoenix College Art Department Awards announced during the Eric Fischl Lecture Series held April 10 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

His award-winning work is on display with other great student creations at the Student Art Exhibit on campus at 11th Avenue and Thomas through April 25 in the Eric Fischl Gallery. Located on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building, the gallery is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Diaz and Robert Romero were selected as this year’s Vanguard Award winners by internationally renowned artists Eric Fischl and this year’s art museum lecture speaker Bryan Hunt. The award includes a $2,500 check for each made possible by the Dan.

While at SMHS, Diaz participated in the Sculpture Magnet Program. During his senior year, he received the Curator’s Award from Shemer Art Center in Phoenix.

This year, Diaz also took first place in the 3D and first place in the 2D categories of the Phoenix College student art competition.

Other 3D winners are C. Markus McCarty, second place and Gayle Trudeau, third place. In the 2D, Gregory Manley, second place and in third place was a co-lab painting by Deborah Jimenez, Rachel Johnson, Deborah Butterfly, Claudia Castro, Arturo Ibanez, Rachel Santillan, Mary Shaw, David Yant, Lee Brown, Yvonne Tapia, Linda Fitzgerald and Jim Jefferies.

The photography award winners are Levi Christiansen, first place and Robert Romero taking both second and third place.

World-renowned artist and Phoenix College 1969 alumnus Eric Fischl, an American contemporary realist painter and sculptor, celebrates his connection to the college by returning annually to present the Eric Fischl Lecture Series. Each year, he brings a famous artist to highlight the event.

As part of the celebration, Fischl selects two Phoenix College art students for the prestigious Vanguard Award, which includes a $2,500 cash prize for each student whose artwork receives Best in Show in the college's 2013 Student Art Competition. The award-winning student artwork is displayed in Phoenix Art Museum's Great Hall before and after the lecture.

In 2008, Fischl announced the Eric Fischl Scholars program, the first of its kind at a community college. He has contributed nearly $150,000 to the Fischl Scholars Program. Find out more at Fischl Scholarship Program.