Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum 2021

April 17, 2021 - May 23, 2021

Aleena Abraham
Oil pastel
Hicksville High School
Grade 12, Art Teacher: Craig Mateyunas
*Third Place, The Hadley Prize*

This annual exhibition+ features extraordinary works of art created by Long Island high school students. 331 young artists from 56 high schools across Nassau and Suffolk counties submitted artwork for jurying, with 83 selected by Karli Wurzelbacher, Heckscher Museum Curator, and artist and guest juror Melissa Misla. This school year has been like no other, challenging art teachers the Museum to rethink what art education looks like. As you will see, students rose to the occasion, participating in virtual field trips and creating powerful artwork that speaks to all we have experienced and learned.

All of the exhibition’s components, including artist statements written by each student and images of artwork from the Museum’s exhibitions that inspired students, are available online.


The Darrell Fund Endowment

Strong-Cuevas Foundation

TD Charitable Foundation
The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation
The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc.

Inna Gellerman, DDS, Gellerman Orthodontics
Callaghan Lucerino & Associates LLP

Exhibition Catalog

Visitors Choice Awards 2021

Left to right: Sarah Piccinini, Decomposing, Mixed media (gouache, colored pencil, graphite, and tissue paper on cardboard), East Islip High School; Amber Dacanay, Untitled, Oil on canvas, Huntington Fine Arts.

More than 2,800 votes were cast this year for the Long Island’s Best Visitors Choice Awards – by individuals visiting the Museum in person as well as online. There were virtual votes cast from a record-breaking 23 countries world-wide!

The Museum is pleased to announce the following winners: Sarah Piccinini, East Islip High School, has won the Visitors Choice Award and Amber Dacanay, Huntington Fine Arts, has won the Virtual Visitors Choice Award. Congratulations to both artists on this incredible achievement and thank you to everyone who voted!

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Exhibition Program

The exhibition program below features a complete list of all exhibiting artists and award winners, participating schools, and descriptions of the exhibitions that inspired students this school year.


Long Island’s Best is a year-long arts-in-education initiative, beginning in the fall with Museum field trips, continuing in the winter with art-making in school, and culminating in the spring with the final juried exhibition on view in the Museum.

Enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos of students during the 2020-2021 school year as they created their artwork in school and at home. Thank you to this year’s participating art teachers for helping to provide the Museum with these images!

Watch Video

Related Events

Saturday & Sunday, April 17th & 18th

Thursday & Friday, April 22 & 23
12 – 5 pm

Exhibiting artists and their teachers, friends and family, Museum Members, and Donors are invited for these exclusive preview days. View Long Island’s Best 2021 before the exhibition opens to the general public on April 24. Timed tickets are required. Exhibiting artists, teachers, Members, and Donors will receive the link to register.

Questions? Email or call 631.380.3292.


Saturday, May 1
7 pm

Join us live at on Instagram @heckschermuseum for this virtual event celebrating the opening of Long Island’s Best 2021. This annual juried exhibition that marks its 25th anniversary this year! Meet select young artists and their teachers and congratulate all of the exhibiting artists and award winners!

Thursday, May 20
7 pm

Long Island’s Best 2021 exhibiting artists are invited to meet their fellow “LI Best-ers” for this casual evening of fun conversation and more via Zoom!

Reservations required. Artists will receive a digital invitation prior to the event.

Questions? Email or call 631. 380.3292.


Watch our Long Island’s Best 2021 YouTube Playlist!

  • Footage from the Instagram Live Virtual Opening & Awards Ceremony
  • Videos by Youth Ambassadors about select artwork in the exhibition

Watch all Videos

Artwork on View at Mitchells and Firefly Artists Gallery

33 works of art from Long Island’s Best 2021 will be on view May 25 – June 27 in the windows of Mitchells, located at 270 Main Street, Huntington, NY, and at Firefly Artists Gallery, located at 162, Main Street, Northport, NY.

Congratulations to all of the exhibiting artists and thank you to Mitchells and Firefly Artists for supporting the next generation of Long Island Artists!

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Celebrating 25 Years: Alumni Spotlight & Past Exhibitions

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Long Island’s Best in 2021 gives us the opportunity to look back and reconnect with past exhibiting artists. Many have gone on to pursue the arts professionally and personally. Twenty alumni from the past 25 years have shared with the Museum where they are now as well as their advice for high school students today! This is only the beginning of a new initiative to create a growing network between Long Island’s Best artists, past and present. Stay tuned for more!

Watch Video

The Museum is also thrilled to now have an online archive of all Long Island’s Best exhibitions, dating back to 1996!

See all past exhibitions



April 15, 2021
Exhibiting Artists and Awards Announced for Long Island’s Best 2021
March 19, 2020
Congratulations to “Long Island’s Best” Exhibiting Artists 2020!
Long Island's Best 2020 Buckmaster, Bridget_Northport HS_Check Mate_Digital photograph
April 26, 2020
Student Awards Announced for Long Island’s Best Young Artists 2020
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