Broadneck Senior Earns Coveted Gold Key Award For Self-Portrait


Isabella Ferreira’s art has been on display somewhere for the last 16 years. First it was her home and even a T-shirt transfer made by her mother when she was 4. By middle school, Ferreira was already taking gifted and talented art classes on the weekends while also a student in the Performing and Visual Arts magnet program at Bates Middle School. Throughout her four years at Broadneck High School, she has excelled in the school’s strong art program.

On March 1, Ferreira was honored as a Gold Key award recipient in the painting category at the 2020 Maryland Recipients of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Showcase in Baltimore. Only a dozen teens in Maryland earned the prestigious Gold Key Award for painting. All Gold Key recipients’ work are on display. Students will learn whose art will be elevated to the national competition and scholarships will be awarded.

Ferreira’s vibrant oiling painting, entitled “18,” is a self-portrait visually representing the ups and downs of her life. Loaded with researched symbolism she’s learned through her tarot card passion, the painting depicts a young woman anxious about the road ahead, yet still grounded in the comfort of friends and high school.

Catie Russo, Broadneck High School art educator, has known Ferreira for four years, and said she’s honored to be Ferreira’s sponsor in the National Art Honors Society.

“When I first met Bella, it was very clear that she had a lot of natural technical ability; she easily assimilated to the more challenging projects that required students to find their own way through a guided prompt,” said Russo.

Russo recalls Ferreira’s style evolution. “Bella’s style originally could be described as diverse and experimental,” said Russo. “She loved trying new things and processes, making more than one of something but in a totally different direction. And, portraits! All of the portraits! Focusing on aesthetic choices excited her the most.”

Throughout high school, Ferreira has honed her personal style into the beautiful, large oil paintings like her Gold Key self-portrait; bright, imaginative and purposeful in her intentions. Her favorite medium is oil paint, and she describes her style as realistic.

In addition to the Gold Key award in painting, Ferreira also earned honorable mention awards for a painting entitled “Closed” and a photograph entitled “Coroaci.” She plans to attend art school in the fall and one day work as a full-time artist and possibly own a gallery.

“I am incredibly proud of Bella. She has the biggest art spirit, is totally invested in her work and future as an artist, and I cannot wait to see where she goes,” Russo said. “I absolutely know she will keep impressing.”

To learn more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition or to see a list of all Maryland student artist award recipients, visit Even with the scholarship offers she’s receiving, Ferreira needs assistance to attend the prestigious art schools where she has been accepted. She’s created a GoFundMe account and would appreciate help.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment