By Karen Kennedy
A recent Carmel High School graduate just returned from hobnobbing with some pretty high profile folks in New York City. Greg Dugdale won a Portfolio Gold Medal in the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for his fashion design portfolio entitled “Off the Awning” and received his award in a ceremony at Carnegie Hall on May 31. His award was presented by actress and arts advocate Sarah Jessica Parker and fashion designer Zac Posen.
The Portfolio Gold Medal is the highest award presented in the program, and only 15 graduating seniors nationwide received it. Other notable artists and writers who received Scholastic awards in high school include: Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Stephen King, Ken Burns, Truman Capote and Sylvia Plath. The Portfolio award is accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship. However, while Dugdale was prepared for the Portfolio Gold Medal award, he had several other surprises in store for him that night.
Video congratulations were delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama and a surprise visit was made by recording artist and “The Voice” judge Usher, who participated in the awards ceremony and gave a speech on the importance of supporting young and upcoming artists. And, at the dinner following the awards ceremony, Dugdale was astonished when he was presented with the Zac Posen Award for fashion and received another scholarship for $1,000.
“It was amazing – like a movie,” Dugdale said of the evening’s events.
As a Gold Medal Portfolio winner, he was seated in the front row of Carnegie Hall and then enjoyed a spectacular dinner at the Edison Ballroom. He traveled to New York for the awards with his father, Jeff, and his brother, Paul.
Dugdale credits Carmel High School teachers John Kane and Judy Fisher for both inspiring him and helping him get his work submitted for the awards. He also has interned with upholsterer Shelly Leer in Broad Ripple. He first worked with her when he was 15 and credits her with teaching him to make patterns and sew.
Experimenting with unconventional materials is a passion for Dugdale. His portfolio includes dresses made out of vinyl awnings, paper, burlap coffee bags, box ties and an extraordinary piece made from Coca-Cola cans and cartons. When asked if a girl could possibly sit down in the Coca-Cola dress, he wryly admits, “That might be a drawback.”
He explains that, as a designer, he has to work twice as hard to create fashions out of recycled materials, but that just makes it all the more fun. He is inspired by bold prints, and his favorite designers are Diane von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren and Roberto Capucci.
In the fall, Dugdale will attend Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in women’s wear and minoring in men’s wear and textiles.
Several other Carmel-area students also received Scholastic awards, but did not participate in the ceremony in New York. Carmel High School student Sarah Bruns, who will be a senior this year, was honored with a silver medal for a new gold and copper sculpture entitled “The Elephant.” Another Carmel High School student, Nicole Yoon was honored with two silver medals for fine art pieces “The Shadow” and “Vegas.” Naomi Farahan of University High School of Indiana received an American Voices award for an essay entitled “Across the Bridge” and Park Tudor student Alexander Gimeno received a gold medal for a poem entitled “Ode to Paint.”