CENTREVILLE — Alyssa Borbonus, a senior at Queen Anne’s County High School, is the QACPS Visual Art Teen of the Week.

On Wednesday, Nov.3, Alyssa joined the most talented student artists from across the state of Maryland for the Fall 2021 First Lady’s Gallery’s virtual reception from 4 to 5 p.m. Only the top students were selected for this exhibition, and only two per school district. The Maryland State Fine Arts Office created a live “virtual ceremony” to help celebrate the students.

One of the two QACPS students featured in this exhibition was Alyssa Borbonus, one of Stephanie Zeiler’s art students. Zeiler, a lead visual arts teacher in QACPS, is no stranger to having statewide award-winners. She’s gone back-to-back in recent years with them, and has helped students earn hundreds of thousands in art scholarships.

Zeiler said, “Alyssa’s vibrant use of color and contemporary flair that make her a standout among her artistic peers.”

Zeiler fondly refers to Alyssa as “the Color Queen” due to the expressive nature of her artwork. She also noted, “Her beautiful, frenzied mark-making also reveals a deeply reflective and empathetic human.”

“Art is my connection to family, to strangers, or to the greater whole altogether,” said Alyssa. “My art should not necessarily reflect any one thing but rather a faction of real-world issues, emotions, and connections. It isn’t primarily about me, it’s about the strangers on the bus ride home, the unseen, the unsettling.”

Alyssa added, “I want my work to be for everyone. I want my art to catch your attention. I want you to read into the context clues of every image, every harsh edge, every doodle, every mark, to catch a glimpse into issues we often overlook. It’s the expression, the emotion, the communication that really counts.”

Zeiler agreed, “Alyssa’s work is deeply layered and she wants her art to connect to the viewer on whatever level they are at but at the same time hopes that by peeling back all the layers and seeing ‘all the things’ a deeper level of understanding and feeling is reached.”

The vibrant aesthetic of her work “Under the Skin” definitely caught the state’s attention when it was selected to be exhibited in Fall 2021 First Lady Yumi Hogan’s Gallery Exhibition. It is both beautiful and thought provoking.

According to Zeiler, Alyssa has developed her own unique artistic voice through her years in the QACHS Visual Arts Program and both her approach to art, and her personal style are refreshing. Before the pandemic, Alyssa began a series of artwork on cardboard that she planned on displaying at Baltimore’s Artscape, offering them up free to anyone who connected with the work.

“What a thoughtful and thought-provoking young artist,” said Supervisor of Fine Arts Michael Bell. “She should hang onto those works though. They’re going to be worth something big one day. I look forward to seeing her works at ArtScene 2022 at Queen Anne’s County High — April 26, 2022.”

To view the First Lady Gallery Exhibition online visit: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/8257587/fall-2021-first-ladys-gallery.

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