THE NO 1 ARTS SCHOOL IN GAUTENG WESTERN REGION: Lillian Gray Art School Ecstatic about NEA results

Lillian Gray Arts School makes waves at the NEA (The National Eisteddfod Academy)

The NEA Western Gauteng Region SHOWCASE 

It is that time of the year again, concerts, prize givings and year-end parties – a time to reflect on what has been achieved during the year. Last week, emails started popping into my inbox at an alarming rate, inviting our Art School to attend the NEA Gauteng Western Region Finals.

To my delight, 21 of our young artists had been invited to the finals of the NEA. I had no idea what to expect. Some of the kids that I had expected to be on the list were not but we were excited. The NEA wouldn’t budge on revealing who had won what, despite a fair bit of begging on my part. The Head Administrator just kept telling me, “Lillian, just make sure you all show up and look the part!” 

I jumped into overdrive and thought “How can I get the kids to stand out and feel epic?”at the NEA? Since we are an Extra-Curricular art school we don’t have a uniform but we do have very messy art aprons. A genius mom said “Why don’t we get T-shirts made?” and I thought that’s it! What if we print cute art quotes on the back of each shirt so the kids can make a statement when they walk up to receive their award? 

I decided to build confidence and unity with all of us wearing the same colour shirt, teachers included. By Thursday we had all the T-shirt sizes, on Friday we placed the order with a Jeffreys Bay T-shirt manufacturer, Monday they were couriered, Tuesday late afternoon they arrived, Wednesday morning we started printing and at 4 pm they were done with minutes to spare to get the kids dressed at 5 pm for the NEA ceremony, starting at 6 pm. Phew!

Kids from the art school wore a variety of catchphrases. The girls rocked “Watch out Frida here I come!” and “I am the next Esther Mahlangu”. The boys had “Watch out Van Gogh here I come” and “Watch out Picasso here I come” and a unisex one “Art Genius Loading”. Our teachers wore “Art teachers do it for the Monet” As a joke our CEO aka my husband wore “I never dreamt I would marry a super sexy artist but here I am, living the dream!”.

NEA uniform
Art school, Lillian Gray

So off we went to the NEA ceremony, taking our seats wondering what would happen next. Well, to say I was blown away would be an understatement!

I knew my students had worked really hard. Since the initial planning sessions, I had pushed and guided them to really consider not only their technical skills but also the message that their art conveys.

For Pottery and Sculpture, they had the excellent guidance of Teacher Martie. She helped them to develop their clay techniques and work on their 3D structures. They each made a unique African mask and individual sculptures.

Teacher Adelle developed lots of observation skills with drawing techniques and training. Jadri, Adelle and I also oversaw all the Fine Art Paintings.

The work was done, brushes washed, hands cleaned and all we could do now was to sit down and take our seats…


A participant with the highest mark (%) in any given item in a region will receive an Item winner certificate, stating e.g. that he/she was the item winner in Fine Arts Drawing, Gr 1 or Painting Gr 3 etc


Lillian Gray Fine Art School had the following Item Winners 23 October 2019 at the National Eisteddfod Showcase.

  • Clara Rabe – Mixed Media Grade 1 & Sculpture Grade 1
  • Lane Viljoen – Pottery Grade 1
  • Sofia Bhorat – Painting Grade 1
  • Hope Mansfield – Pottery Grade 2
  • Lea Santana – Mixed Media Grade 2
  • Sky Zakumba – Painting Grade 2
  • Phoenix Shi – Drawing Grade 2
  • Alicia Viviers – Painting Grade 3 & Traditional African Arts & Pottery Grade 3
  • Dhiya Ramkillet – Painting Grade 3
  • Leila Rautenbach – Painting Grade 3
  • Ilana van den Berg – Drawing Grade 4
  • Kathryn Price – Drawing Grade 5
  • Heinrich Voight – Printmaking Grade 7
  • Ivan Scheltema – Painting Grade 7
  • Kiara Kok – Pottery Grade 7
  • Jana Lotz – Painting Grade 8


  • A participant with the highest mark (%) in any given category in a region will receive a medal and Category winner certificate.
  • Broadly defined a category is a combination of similar items, often grouped into Junior and Senior


Lillian Gray Fine Arts School had the following Medal Winners / Category Winners at the National Eisteddfod Western Gauteng Showcase.

  • Alicia Viviers – Category Winner Collage
  • Olivia Mann – Two-time Category Winner for Pottery & Painting
  • Joshua Rabe – Category Winner Photography
  • Zoe Du Plessis – Category Winner Collage & Mixed Media
  • Anneke Alberts – Category Winner Photography
  • Gys Joubert – Category Winner – Pottery & Printmaking Item Winner for Printing
  • Katheryn Price – Three Times Category Winner – Printmaking Item Winner for Printing
  • Kara Voster – Category Winner Collage – Item Winner Collage & Mixed Media
  • Ilana van den Berg – Category Winner Painting

NEA Ambassador Award 

This is awarded to an individual in the annual Eisteddfod based on the highest marks obtained in any given item. This award can be distinguished by the exclusive use of a special Ambassador Award seal. For the purpose of this award, all the results in all regions are considered. The number of NEA Ambassador Awards may differ from year to year, but will be awarded to a maximum of 3% of the total number of individual participants and groups in the given year.

  • Alicia Viviers – Two Time Winner – Mixed Media & Pottery
  • Clara Rabe – Sculpture
  • Ilana van den Berg – Printmaking
  • Zoe Du Plessis – Mixed Media & Printmaking
  • Gys Joubert – Three-Time Winner – Painting, Printmaking & Pottery
  • Kathryn Price – Three Time Winner – Painting, Mixed Media, Pottery
  • Kara Vorster – Mixed Media
  • Olivia Mann – Three Time Winner – Printmaking, Sculpture, Pottery

Top 10 Junior Prestige Award: 

Regional The top 10 participants (junior and senior) in each region will be identified and ranked according to their total achievement In all sections. This mark is calculated by allocating a numerical value to each level of achievement as awarded by the adjudicators for every item a candidate has participated in, as well for any subsequent award (e.g. item winner, category winner, etc.) according to the following scale: Certificate (1 mark), Silver (5 marks), Gold (10 marks), Diploma (30 marks), Item winner (10 marks), Category winner (30 marks) and Ambassador Award (90 marks).

The final results are calculated by the computer-based on these values. Since 2012 only the highest result in any item is considered for the calculation of the total, e.g. when a participant obtained 2 diplomas in Narrative Poetry, Gr. 5, only the event with the highest mark (e.g. 93% compared to 90%) will be considered. Based on this formula a participant with e.g. 3 diplomas in Unprepared Reading Grade 4 will receive 30 marks towards his total, compared to 3 x 30 in the past. Achievement on this level can be compared to achievement on a district level.

Lillian Gray Fine Arts School had 7 out of the 10 students in the TOP 10!

No 10 – Clara Rabe

No 9 – Kara Vorster

No 8 – Zoe Du Plessis

No 6 – Alicia Viviers

N0 5 – Olivia Mann

No 3 –  Kathryn Price

No 1 – Gys Joubert

Gys Joubert No1 in Western Gauteng Region

The cherry on the cake had to be the results for the Top 10 Institutions that had entered students in the Western Gauteng Region. Last year we ranked 8th. This year I had cautiously set my sights on 5th place. Thinking I need to be realistic in my goals, bearing in mind that we are a little studio with 63 students, competing with schools that have well over 1000+ learners. Also, other schools and studios enter in all categories, including music and drama whereas we specialise in art, exclusively.

As they read the Top 10 schools starting at 10, I kept thinking ok we are not no 9, ok we are not no 7. When they passed No 5 I thought, wow, we are in the top 5! Whoo whoo we smashed our goals!! When they read No 2, Monnas, and they still hadn’t read our name I started to think, ok, maybe we didn’t make the list. But then! No 1!!!!


O my word! O my word!

For my own art career, this year has been very hectic with 3 international exhibitions. There were multiple times when I had to manage the school from abroad and hand over to our amazing administrator Grizelda Liebenberg.

Book your art classes now: Lillian Gray Art School

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