Mikayla Baldwin was delighted to learn that she had won the inaugural $1000 Young Artist Scholarship, run by Fine Arts Whanganui.

The Whanganui High School student did not expect to also win the People's Choice Award which comes with a prize of $200 and an artwork on the cover of the Artist Open Studios 2018 catalogue, courtesy of the Artists Open Studio Trust.

Mikayla's ethereal works depicting fantasy creatures in surreal settings were a hit with both judges and visitors.

Her work was chosen from submissions by nine other young finalists, including Lola Murray Camden who won the student prize at the Magaweka Fakes and Forgeries competitions with her portrait of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


"I enjoy creating artworks that surprise and bring joy," said Mikayla.

"My art teacher Graham Hall has been really encouraging in helping me to develop my ideas."

The Year 12 student said she had not decided on her tertiary study path yet but was pretty sure it would be an art course.

Mikayla also won the drawing prize at the In Our Hands art competition run by the Whanganui District Youth Committee in September.

The Young Artist Scholarship prizes were presented at the Fine Arts Whanganui second birthday celebration at the Taupo Quay gallery on Friday.

Speakers and presenters of the awards were Kelly Scarrow of Mainstreet, Artists Open Studios chairman Ross Fallon, chairwoman of Fine Arts Whanganui Marie Grice and UCOL campus manager Bronwyn Paul.

Ms Paul offered all the young finalists the opportunity to exhibit their work in the UCOL atrium during Artists' Open Studios in March.

She also offered a personal scholarship of $500 to any of the finalists who wished to study for an art qualification at UCOL next year.

Mikayla will receive mentoring and support from Fine Arts Whanganui members for a solo exhibition at their gallery next year.