By Stacy Nadelman

Pilot staff writer

Brookings-Harbor High School student Becky Chierichetti, 16, took Best of Show in the Coos Art Museum's annual andquot;Visionsandquot; student show held March 7 in Coos Bay.

Chierichetti won a two-year tuition waiver to any Southwestern Oregon Community College campus and $250 for her 2-by-3 foot acrylic painting of a lion, entitled andquot;Regal,andquot; which is on display at the museum through April 12.

andquot;I've always drawn my whole life - since I could hold a pencil,andquot; Chierichetti said. andquot;But I didn't get serious until I took an art class in seventh grade.andquot; There, she said, is where her art teacher taught her the basics.

Chierichetti, who is now a junior and plans to continue in art, and has architecture career plans. She moved to Brookings two years ago with her family from Grants Pass. Now, at BHHS, in Sheryl Tuttle's art class, her art is expanding.

andquot;Ms. Tuttle has been building me up and expanding me more,andquot; Chierichetti said. andquot;She supports me, but teaches me to walk on my own.andquot;

andquot;Becky moved to our district the 2006-07 school year and immediately made it clear that she is an artist, fully formed,andquot; said Tuttle, the art and yearbook instructor at the high school. andquot;I would love to take credit for her wonderful abilities, but the credit belongs to her.andquot;

Tuttle said Chierichetti spent approximately a month and a half working on her painting for this competition, several times painting over areas that didn't satisfy her.

andquot;She is detail-oriented, meticulous, and driven to do her very best - her own worst critic,andquot; said Tuttle.

andquot;I am really pleased that she received best in show, and even more, the scholarship to SOCC. She will be a wonderful asset to their art program, or any other academic area she chooses to pursue.andquot;

Chierichetti entered art competitions twice before: at the Josephine County Fair and the other was last spring at the Azalea Festival art show. She was awarded first place in both.

She said the Coos Bay Visions competition was her biggest yet.

Every year the Coos Art Museum, along with Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation, hosts andquot;Visions,andquot; an art competition for high school students throughout Southern Oregon.

This year's exhibit features 98 works by 73 artists at 10 Southern Oregon high schools.

This is the third year that BHHS students have competed in the event, with students placing each year.

Twelfth-grader Chelsea Young's mixed media piece, titled andquot;Focusandquot; was third place in the senior division. Eleventh-grader Molly Moncrief's mixed media diptych, titled andquot;Radianceandquot; was first place in the junior division. Tenth-grader Elizabeth Pettinger's mixed media piece, titled andquot;Clownfish Glimpseandquot; was fourth in the sophomore division.

Coos Art Museum is at 235 Anderson Ave., west of Highway 101 in Coos Bay.

The SOCC Foundation will retain the work of the prize winners for the foundation's Permanent Student Art Collection.

andquot;We are very happy to be working with the College and it's a partnership we hope to keep pursuing for some time,andquot; said Coos Art Museum Director Steven Broocks.