Wednesday, February 01, 2023

National Black History Month Spotlight: Viola Davis (1965 - )

February is Black History Month, and @DGNFineArts is pleased to spotlight the pioneering work of Black artists.

Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. The recipient of an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, she is the first African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2017. In 2017, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2020, The New York Times ranked her ninth on its list of the greatest actors of the 21st century up to that point.
Born in St. Matthews, South Carolina, Davis began her acting career in Central Falls, Rhode Island, starring in minor theater productions. After graduating from the Juilliard School in 1993, she won an Obie Award in 1999 for her performance as Ruby McCollum in Everybody's Ruby. She played minor roles in several films and television series in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Tonya in the 2001 Broadway production of August Wilson's King Hedley II. Davis's film breakthrough came in 2008, when her role as a troubled mother in the film Doubt earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Greater success came to Davis in the 2010s. She won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for playing Rose Maxson in the Broadway revival of August Wilson's play Fences. For starring as a 1960s housemaid in the comedy-drama The Help (2011), Davis received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2014, Davis began playing lawyer Annalise Keating in the ABC television drama series How to Get Away with Murder, and in 2015, she became the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In 2016, Davis reprised the role of Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She went on to receive a BAFTA nomination for her performance in Steve McQueen's heist film Widows (2018). In 2020, Davis garnered universal acclaim for her performance in the titular role of the film adaptation of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, for which she received an NAACP Image Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. With that nomination, Davis became the most nominated Black actress in the history of the Academy Awards, with four acting nominations, and the first Black actress to have been nominated for Best Actress more than once.

Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, are founders of a production company, JuVee Productions. Davis is also widely recognized for her advocacy and support of human rights and equal rights for women and women of color. In 2019, she became a L'Oréal Paris ambassador.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

D99 Jazz in Clinic and Concert with NIU Jazz Orchestra

The student musicians of the DGN and DGS Jazz Bands participated in an educational clinic and concert with the internationally acclaimed Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra. Led by Professor Reggie Thomas, the NIU Jazz Orchestra performed an exciting set that kept the audience engaged and cheering for more.

Congratulations to the members of the DGN and DGS Jazz programs for their outstanding performances tonight at South High School. It was a pleasure and honor for our students to open for the great Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Scholarship Alert (Seniors): 2023 DGN-FOFA Senior Scholarships

What is the Senior Scholarship?

The Downers Grove North Friends of Fine Arts (FOFA) are pleased to announce our Senior Scholarship award program. FOFA will award scholarships to seniors who are planning to continue their education in the fall following their high school graduation and who plan to participate in some capacity in the fine arts. The FOFA Senior Scholarship Committee reviews the applications in a blind format.

Who may apply?

Current DGN seniors may apply for a scholarship if they are planning to be both involved in the fine arts and continue their education in the fall of 2023. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled in a Fine Arts course during their senior year and have completed 6 semesters of Fine Arts courses upon graduation from Downers Grove North High School.  

  • At least one scholarship will be awarded to a senior attending a college in the fall where they will be pursuing a degree involving Fine Arts.
  • At least one scholarship will be awarded to a senior who is pursuing an area of study outside of the Fine Arts but plans to continue a Fine Arts activity in college during their freshman year.
  • One student who will be majoring in Fine Arts education will be awarded the Brayer Teague Scholarship for Arts Education

To what may the award be applied? 

Recipients will use this one-time award towards tuition at an accredited two or four-year institution of higher learning. The FOFA Senior Scholarship will be administered and awarded in compliance with the DGN Student/Parent Handbook and Code of Conduct Policy.

How do I apply?

Complete the application (fillable Google Form), which can be found HERE or at The application requires a typed parent/guardian acknowledgment signature. Applications must be submitted electronically via the Google Form no later than 11:59 pm, Wednesday, March 22, 2023.  The Fine Arts Department Chairperson will then accept all applications, remove the student’s name from the application, assign the application an ID number, and submit it to the Scholarship Review Committee for blind review.

What are the criteria for selecting winners?

The Scholarship Review Committee will review the applicant’s grades in the Fine Arts, school activities involving the Fine Arts, activities outside of school involving the Fine Arts, other extracurriculars at DGN, civic/community service, work experience, and essays about the applicant’s future plans and growth as an artist/musician/thespian.  All of these components will be judged blindly and relative to other applicants with similar future plans. Semi-finalists may be required to attend an interview with the Scholarship Review Committee in April. The recipients will be presented with the scholarship at the DGN Senior Awards Night (currently scheduled for Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023), or by a phone call from the FOFA President.

Please note: If you are the recipient of a full Fine Arts or full academic grant/scholarship for college, we ask that you do not apply for the FOFA Scholarship as you will not be eligible.

Checklist for completion:

  1. Complete the Google application form in its entirety, including student and parent electronic signature and date.   We suggest you use Google Docs or another tool to create your essay responses, then copy these to the form.  
  2. Submit the completed application by 11:59 PM, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. You will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours that your submission has been received. If you do not receive an email, please re-submit. 

Scholarship Alert (Freshmen/Sophomores/Juniors): 2023 Summer Study Grant in the Fine Arts! (DGN FOFA)

If you are interested in continuing your Fine Arts studies this summer at a music, theatre, or visual art camp/workshop, and would benefit from financial assistance to attend, please consider applying for a scholarship from the DGN Friends of Fine Arts, which annually supports $8,000 - $10,000 in Summer Study Grants to student musicians, thespians and visual artists.

To be considered, your application must be submitted by Sunday, April 16, 2023. The Summer Study Grant application is completely paperless, HERE. You may also complete the form here:

Scholarship Awards will be announced in early May.  Questions about the application process? Please ask Mr. Teague, Downers Grove North Fine Arts Department Chairperson.

Scholarship Alert (Seniors): 2023 DG Music Club College Music Award

The Downers Grove Music Club will present a $1,000 College Music Award to at least one student enrolled in Band, Choir or Orchestra in District 99. Award recipients will be selected based on the merit of their musical accomplishments, as described on the application form, and the quality of the musical performance provided on the video recording portion of the application.  The goal of these awards is to recognize and reward those students who have worked very hard in their musical pursuits and have achieved a high level of accomplishment as a musician.

Seniors may apply for one of the two possible College Music Awards ($1,000 each). Additional information, on the Downers Grove Music Club website, may be found HERE.
Who Is Eligible?
Any District 99 high school band, choir or orchestra senior, who will be graduating during the this academic year and who will be attending college in the fall of 2021, is eligible to apply.

How Can I Apply?
The application must be completed and submitted, along with a performance video recording, as directed on the submission website, by April 1.  Award recipients will be chosen only from among the applications received by the deadline date.
All entries must be DATE/TIME STAMPED by the deadline date of April 1 to be eligible for review.
Questions should be sent to:

Scholarship Alert (Freshman/Sophomores/Juniors): 2023 Downers Grove Music Club Rising Stars Music Awards

$400 Awards for Freshman, Sophomores & Juniors in Music
The Downers Grove Music Club will present multiple $400 Rising Stars Music Awards.  Awards are given to students enrolled in the District 99 high schools in the areas of Band, Choir or Orchestra.  Award recipients are selected based on the merit of their musical accomplishments, as described on the application form and the quality of the musical performance provided on the recording portion of the application. The goal of these awards is to recognize and reward those students who have worked very hard in their musical pursuits and have achieved a high level of accomplishment as a musician.
Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors may apply for one of the multiple Rising Stars Awards ($400 each).  Additional information, on the Downers Grove Music Club website, may be found HERE.
Who Is Eligible?
Any  District 99 high school band, choir or orchestra student, currently in his/her junior year, pursuing a musical educational experience during the summer in which tuition is charged, is eligible to apply for a Rising Stars Award. Pianists may apply in the musical category with which they are affiliated.

Award recipients are required to perform the following year at the DGMC Rising Stars program, usually scheduled on a Tuesday evening in April.

How Can I Apply?
The application, and submission of performance video, must be completed online.
All entries must be DATE/TIME STAMPED by the deadline date of April 1 to be eligible for review.
Questions should be sent to:

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

DGN All State Musicians Depart for Peoria!

Fifteen student musicians from Downers Grove North High School have earned All-State Music honors through the Illinois Music Education AssociationStudents were selected to the All-State Bands, All-State Choirs, All-State Orchestras and as an All-State Composer. All-State musicians travel this week to Peoria, IL, to participate in the Illinois Music Education Conference

Congratulations to ...

Stephen Cecil (12) – Viola, All State Honors Orchestra

Owen Curran (12) – Tenor II, All State Chorus

Cecilia DeArcangelis (12) – Soprano II, All State Chorus

Sophia Hamelka (11) All State Composition

Cameron Hejny (12) – Clarinet, All State Honors Band

Robert Huth (12) – Cello, All State Orchestra  

Tabitha Irvin (12) – Bass Clarinet, All State Honors Band

Jonathan Isoniemi (12) – Bass I, All State Honors Chorus

Hannah Janka (12) – Horn, All State Honors Band

Ethan Martin (11) – Tuba, All State Honors Band

Caleb McCloud (10) – Violin, All State Orchestra

Nicole Moravec (12) – Violin, All State Orchestra

Aarush Palli (11) – Piccolo, All State Band

Matthew Sirota (11) – Tenor II, All State Chorus

Ethan Weingust (11) – Bassoon, All State Honors Band

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DGN Visual Artists Honored - 2023 Scholastic Art Awards

The Downers Grove North High School Fine Arts Department is proud to announce the results of the judging from the 2023 Scholastic Art Awards. This year more than 250,000 woks of art and writing were submitted nationally. In the Chicago Region 2,347 works from 1,008 artists representing 186 art educators and 46 high schools were submitted for adjudication. North High artists won a total of 107 awards, including 1 Best of Show, 31 Gold Key Awards, 37 Silver Key Awards, and 38 Honorable Mention Awards.

“District 99 looks forward to hosting the Chicago-area regional exhibition at North High,” said Brayer Teague, Fine Arts Department Chairman. According to Teague, the art teachers from both North and South High School play an important role in putting the exhibition together.  “Our teachers are the engine behind this regional affiliate of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Their dedication and tireless commitment enables student artists from all over the suburban region to have their work evaluated by professional artists. I'm immeasurably proud of our faculty for their efforts to coordinate this regional exhibition, assuring this important opportunity for students and art educators all over Chicago."  

Senior Aiden Robinson garnered a prestigious American Vision nomination. "The American Vision designation is the 'best of show' award for a Scholastic Regional Exhibition," said Teague. "Only five of these awards are given by the judges, in total, placing the works in the top one-quarter of one percent of all adjudicated pieces. This is the second year in a row that Aiden has been honored as an American Vision nominee at the regional level, making him our school's first-ever back-to-back honoree!"

to view a portfolio of all DGN award winning artwork.

The public is invited to attend that Exhibition's Opening Reception on Sunday, January 29, from 1:00 - 4:00 PM at Downers Grove North High School (4436 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515).

AMERICAN VISION - Best of Show (1)

Aiden Robinson (Sculpture) Remember That Night


Emily Allen (Ceramics & Glass) Kettle Bunny

Julia Arnold (Film & Animation) The Feeling of Home

Julia Arnold (Art Portfolio) Found Family

Sarisa Chulanon (Jewelry) numbers ? worth

Natalie DiBartolo (Ceramics & Glass) Chomp

Timmy Fleming (Sculpture) The Beggar

Natasha Fugate (Photography) Break of Dawn

Eve Giesler (Digital Art) Holy Melancholy

Henry Gwozdz (Photography) Anesthetized

Henry Gwozdz (Mixed Media) For the Five

Henry Gwozdz (Photography) A Mind of Its Own

Jaclynn Howard (Ceramics & Glass) Trio Set

Nathan Klasen (Jewelry) Eternal Vigilance

Ella Leathers (Photography) On the Streets

Nathaniel Lee (Digital Art) Handyman

Calliope Legare (Digital Art) Venomous Bliss

Maura MacDonald (Digital Art) Shattered

Ieva Mieliauskas (Ceramics & Glass) Cat & Mouse

Tabaaraka Muzammil (Ceramics & Glass) Freedom

Emily Nemeth (Art Portfolio) Burning Through the Years

Sarah Paul (Painting) Bodys

Aiden Robinson (Sculpture) 527 N Hamlin

Aiden Robinson (Jewelry) Maker’s Mark

Aiden Robinson (Art Portfolio) A New Perspective

Aiden Robinson (Jewelry) Chained To The Craft

Aiden Robinson (Sculpture) Remember That Night

Emma Salman (Jewelry) I Wish You’d Let Me Go

Emma Salman (Jewelry) Protecting My Peace

Sarah Woods (Photography) A Daughter’s Form

Sarah Woods (Photography) Laundry Day

Sarah Woods (Photography) Familial Scenes


Julia Arnold (Comic Art) Winter Break

Julia Arnold (Comic Art) A Conversation  

Emma Barton (Jewelry) Let It Bee

Sarisa Chulanon (Art Portfolio) Breaking Standards

Aidan Corbett (Sculpture) Reach Out

Katherine Cremer (Jewelry) Flowing Flames

Nathan Gier (Jewelry) Molten

Eve Giesler (Jewelry) Moon Moth

Eve Giesler (Digital Art) The Horned One

Henry Gwozdz (Jewelry) Euthanize My Digital Self

Henry Gwozdz (Photography) I Prefer to Eat Alone

Henry Gwozdz (Photography) My Flesh is Your Currency

Henry Gwozdz (Photography) Satisfaction is a Luxury

Henry Gwozdz (Photography) My Fate is Sealed

Payton Hubbs-Plumley (Digital Art) Rejoicing 

Payton Hubbs-Plumley (Digital Art) Blizzard 

Charlie Michaels (Ceramics & Glass) Box Monster

Bailey Mongello (Ceramics & Glass) Holding it Together

Gretchen Nelson (Photography) Phantasm

Emily Nemeth (Sculpture) Kaida

Emily Nemeth (Jewelry) Vulcan

Amelia Passero (Jewelry) Baron Von Fredrick the 3rd

Sarah Paul (Painting) Pressure

Sarah Paul (Drawing & Illustration) Forest

Sarah Paul (Drawing & Illustration) Morning Coffee

Leo Peters (Digital Art) Crimson King’s Chorus

Matthew Poe (Photography) Tents

Matthew Poe (Photography)
The End of Time

Aiden Robinson (Sculpture) What The Locksmith Sees

Aiden Robinson (Jewelry) To My Metalwork Teacher, I Am Forever Grateful

Aiden Robinson (Ceramics & Glass) Maker’s Mark II

Aiden Robinson (Ceramics & Glass) Winter Cottage

Aiden Robinson (Art Portfolio) Life and Its Many Emotions

Azrael Robinson (Mixed Media) I Am Not Your Dream Boy

Azrael Robinson (Design) The Mothman of West Virginia

Jonah Sutton (Photography) Abandon

Sarah Woods (Photography) Marks of an Unloving Home


Julia Arnold (Comic Art) They Make My World More Colorful

Julia Arnold (Comic Art) Found Family Dinner

Sarisa Chulanon (Mixed Media) The Asian Experience

Sarisa Chulanon (Photography) False Reflection

Timmy Fleming (Jewelry) Breeze

Eric Fosket (Photography) Blue Teeth

Maya Gawley (Jewelry) Metanoia

Nathan Gier (Sculpture) Lighthouse

Nathan Gier (Jewelry) Current

Henry Gwozdz (Sculpture) The Internal Questioning of Your Hospitality

Payton Hubbs-Plumley (Digital Art) Dad

Payton Hubbs-Plumley (Drawing & Illustration) Carrot Filer

Payton Hubbs-Plumley (Comic Art) The Journey

Erika Kellam (Ceramics & Glass) Delilah

Nathan Klasen (Sculpture) Where The Sun Rises

Nathan Klasen (Jewelry) No Mans Land

Amelia Kolatek (Drawing & Illustration) Konstancja

Emily Kus (Jewelry) Balance of Nature

Ella Leathers (Photography) Addiction

Nathaniel Lee (Art Portfolio) Crimson Anatomy

Lydia Metcalf (Drawing & Illustration) The Conducting Mantis

Charlie Michaels (Ceramics & Glass) Uncertain Seas

Kate Miller (Photography) What You Don’t See

Gretchen Nelson (Photography) Gentle Horror

Emily Nemeth (Jewelry) Dual Embers

Amelia Passero (Jewelry) The Slain Heart

Amelia Passero (Jewelry) The Curse Occurs

Sarah Paul (Drawing & Illustration) Epiphany

Mattew Poe (Photography) Desires

Mattew Poe (Photography) The Cultivation of Time

Mattew Poe (Painting) Dreamscape

Aiden Robinson (Jewelry) Engineer’s Touch

Greta Serniute (Painting) One Ways

Greta Serniute (Painting) Look At What You’ve Done

Ashley Wachel (Art Portfolio) Poor Language, Soul Language

Ashley Wachel (Design) What Are We Looking For?

Luke Williams (Ceramics & Glass) Adventure Through The Mind

Sarah Woods (Art Portfolio) Reflections of Self

Fine Arts @ DGN Mission

North High School endeavors to provide an enriching, vibrant, multidisciplinary environment for the study, creation, and presentation of the Fine Arts.