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News

Volume 65 Number 2

Students submit artwork to the National YoungArts Foundation

by Alison Sim - 2014-12-04


Grasping the opportunity to submit their work to a prestigious art competition, senior Coby Gesten and junior Kate Kwak recently entered their submissions into the National YoungArts Foundation in hopes to become finalists.

The foundation’s mission is to identify and support the next generation of artists by investing in the talent of young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing art fields. Student artists in grade 10 through 12 are eligible to enter; submissions were due this past month.

According to its website, to date, the YoungArts Foundation has honored more than 20,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary wards and facilitated $150 million in scholarship opportunities.

Each year in Miami, Florida, the foundation holds a National YoungArts Week, where approximately 170 YoungArts finalists can work with master teachers and mentors in their fields. Every week of the night, the artists would perform, screen their films, display art exhibitions, read their writings, or dance a routine.

Last year, Gesten entered the competition with a collection of ceramics and became a YoungArts Finalist. Ceramics teacher Annie Webster had encouraged him to apply.

“I really enjoyed my experience in Miami last year with the other winners, and I wanted a chance to participate in that again. I also wanted to see if I could become one of the even more selective ‘finalists’ and attend that convention,” Gesten said.

Attending the week-long convention changed the way he looked at his art and he began to make his art with a meaning or message, according to Gesten.

“The pieces I submitted this year had the general theme of staying true to myself regardless of what others may see me as--the whole appearance versus reality of me and how people make assumptions about who I am when they first see me and how false those assumptions are,” Gesten said.

“You cannot understand it from a single perspective. You must move about the piece, circle it and view it from various angles to see it for what it really is,” Gesten said.

With experience from last year, working on his submissions this year differed slightly from last year in terms of creating each piece.

“Making this ‘round’ of pieces was actually much more challenging. It pushed me to much more deeply consider each decision on each piece but as a result, I think I produced higher quality work,” Gesten said.

In addition, Kwak entered the competition, but with a different discipline of art--sketchbook drawings in ink.

“I knew about it last year--there was a poster of it, but I found about it only 5 days before the due date so I didn't have the chance to submit it; this year I was looking forward to submitting my drawings,” Kwak said.

According to Kwak, she bought a sketchbook and began drawing for the competition on the first day of this past summer. She submitted five pieces, and each was 16 x 24 inches.

“The week of the due of date I only got 5 hours of sleep from working on my submission,” Kwak said.

However, Kwak was not alone in the process of submission, studio art teacher Kim Kholer helped Kwak with the final touches for the submission, “Ms. Kohler was really nice. She stayed at school late to help me to photograph every detail [of my drawings],” Kwak said.

An independent panel of judges will evaluate and judge the submissions and identify the National Winners in each discipline. Responses will come out sometime in December.

Says Gesten to those in any art disciplines: “If you enjoy what you do, I see no reason for you to not submit to YoungArts. You don't have to want to become a professional artist and it exposes you to all sorts of new experiences and inspiration.”


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last, art, competition, gesten, kwak, youngarts, foundation, year, finalist, piece, drawing, submission, artist


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