Grayson Kennedy said she was happy with what she learned in her oil painting class at Silvermine Arts Center while creating her painting, "Man Curly Hair," a portrait of a nude man. She especially liked how well she captured his features and chose and applied colors to achieve depth and contrast.

And so did the judges at Silvermine's 25th Annual Students' Exhibition, which opened last weekend. Kennedy, an 18-year-old senior at St. Luke's School who has been painting since the fourth grade, took first prize in the youth category at the exhibition.

Kennedy, who usually takes three classes a year at Silvermine, plans to study visual art at Bucknell University next fall.

"I captured what he actually looked like very well," she said. "I've painted since I was young, but I've been taking classes here for years."

A large crowd of family, friends and professional and student artists pressed into Silvermine April 12 for the opening reception of the show to view the top artworks produced by students at the center in the past year.

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The works will be on exhibition through May 20.

Kennedy was one among many residents of New Canaan and surrounding towns who received first and second prize awards in the professionally juried art show. The show included dozens of artworks in a variety of forms from oil painting, watercolor painting and drawing to mixed media, photography, printmaking, and digital images.

Awards were given in a range of age groups -- the children's category (5 to 10 years of age) the youth category (11 to 17 years of age) and adults.

In addition to Kennedy, other New Canaan residents recognized for their work were Frank Bordanaro, who won an honorable mention for his pencil drawing, "Tamara Quick Pose," and Ann Pakhayer in the youth category, for her mixed media work, "Approaching." Also in the youth category, Beckett Walters received an honorable mention in ceramics.

In the 5 to 10 age group junior category, first prize in ceramics went to Alexa Alexander for her "Resting Frog," and first prize in drawing went to Waverly Walters for "Cartoon Cast." Honorable mentions went to Soraya Breed for collage and Lucas Breed for mixed media, and Emma Peloso won the Cynthia Mullins Award for "Diamond Plate," a clay sculpture.

In the adult category, Juliette Jansen of Darien took first place in painting with "Downtime in 2014," which depicts her two daughters, Natalie and Ceci, reclining and looking at a smartphone.

Jansen said she wanted to paint something that captured how close her daughters are but thought the inclusion of the smartphone made the painting more meaningful.

"I was trying to get across their closeness but also that technology is a big part of life and that you can still be connecting," Jansen said. "I think the phone is part of the painting that people think about and makes (the painting) my own."

In the adult category, Maxwell Weisen, a Greenwich resident, won an honorable mention for his oil painting, "Secret Sharers," which shows a centenarian couple laughing out loud. Weisen, a Greenwich Realtor, said he paints two days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Silvermine Arts Center.

Weisen credited his instructors at Silvermine for helping him to maximize his talent since he began taking classes three years ago.

"I've been able to enlarge and improve the talent I do have," Weisen said. "I wasn't a painter and now I am."

The Silvermine Arts Center's school of art was first established in 1924, and offers hundreds of classes and seminars in spring, summer and fall sessions for artists of all ages and levels of ability, with more than 4,500 enrollments each year. The artistic lineage of the Silvermine area reaches back to the early 1900s, when sculptor Solon Borglum moved to the area and founded a colony of artists who met in his barn called "The Knockers Club." Today, the Silvermine's Guild of professional artists includes about 300 people, and the center's galleries present 20 contemporary and historic exhibitions annually. The center is currently taking enrollments for the Summer Art Camps for kids, and registration is still available for courses in the spring session.

For more information call the center at 203-966-9668-extension 2 or visit www.silverminearts.org.