Story Update: On March 21, NASA announced the voting results online and Alaura Knoop was named the 2017 Grand Prize Runner-Up in its Centennial Student Art Contest.
NASA Langley Research Center is asking the nation to choose the grand prize winner in its Centennial Student Art Contest.
Gifted visual arts student Alaura Knoop, an eighth-grader at Virginia Beach Middle School, is hoping the public will cast its votes for her entry depicting the contest theme, “A Storied Legacy, A Soaring Future.” Online voting takes place at https://artcontest.larc.nasa.gov/ until 11:59 p.m. EDT March 20.
Space exploration is more than just a theme for Knoop. It’s her “one true passion,” according to the artist statement she wrote about the acrylic painting.
Dressed in an outer space-themed skirt, Knoop explained her preparation of the piece that celebrates NASA Langley’s 100th anniversary.
“I did some research for the ‘storied legacy’ aspect and I put that in the background,” she said.
She included the Mercury spacecraft flying across the sky to symbolize Langley’s part in the missions. In the corner looms the planet Mars to show “the work Langley has done and continues to do to study this mysterious planet,” Knoop wrote in her artist statement.
A launching NASA space shuttle and a lunar lander are also painted in the background.
“Then I did an astronaut in the foreground because NASA Langley does a lot with astronaut training,” Knoop said. “The visor is the futuristic piece because of a ‘storied future.’ I painted alternate energy sources and new spacecraft on the helmet to show a reflection of the future. The astronaut is looking out into the future and behind the astronaut is the past.”
What does the future hold for the student artist who loves outer space?
Continuing her year-round practices with Tide Swimming, another passion, and enrolling in the Mathematics and Science Academy at Ocean Lakes High School next school year.
“Then probably something with astronomy,” said Knoop.
She’s also excited about what’s next for NASA.
“NASA Langley Research Center has made amazing and inspiring discoveries and my aim was to show these all of these in my artwork,” she wrote in her statement. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds in space exploration!”
To view all of the grade-level winners and their artwork, visit https://artcontest.larc.nasa.gov/. The grand prize winners, selected from all the first place winners named in kindergarten through grade 12, will be announced on the art contest website March 21.