Call me gloomy, but I spend a lot of time worrying about the degradation of culture. I fear that text messaging will render young people incapable of articulating, solving problems and making their own decisions. Pop music makes me panic, and video games make me want to build a bunker and hide from a world full of Wii addicts without cognitive capabilities, pride in craftsmanship or respect for other traditions.
Fortunately, there is hope — the teenage painters, sculptors, photographers, authors and musicians of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers (AYAW). AYAW is dedicated to bringing the artistic and literary talents of these talented teenagers to a national audience.
As co-owner of the 2nd Saturday ArtHop, I am particularly proud to help showcase a group of young North State artists who will compete this year for the AYAW Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Their work will be on display this month in Redding, and the community will have a chance to congratulate them during Saturday’s ArtHop.
Five Northern California students will make their way to the awards with help from the Northern California Arts Project (NCAP). NCAP is in Jefferson State’s corner, fighting the battle, often uphill, for comprehensive, standards-based visual and performing arts education and professional development for teachers. Guiding local students to AYAW to be recognized for their artistic achievements is a new (NCAP became an AYAW affiliate in 2010), but important part of their mission.
The North State students, from Enterprise High School in Redding, and Hamilton High School in Hamilton City (near Orland), are first judged locally. Winners are presented with “Honorable Mention,” “American Vision,” “Silver Key,” and “Gold Key” awards. Local Gold Key winners advance to the national competition.
Thanks to AYAW, more than 50,000 students nationwide are recognized in their communities for their artistic achievements, 1,300 students receive national awards and 150 students receive scholarships ranging from $500 to $10,000. National award-winning works are displayed in regional exhibits, including at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miami Art Museum, Ft. Wayne Museum of Art, in Indiana, Stauth Memorial Museum, in Kansas, College for Creative Studies in Michigan, the Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Armory Center for the Arts in California.
Three hundred works of art and 50 works of writing are selected for the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Exhibition on display at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June, coinciding with the national celebration at Carnegie Hall. The Alliance also holds ongoing exhibitions at the U.S. Department of Education and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in Washington D.C.
So, send out positive vibes for Holly Robinson, Keira Belanger, Chris Inthong and Shawn Chao from Redding’s Enterprise High School, and Kesh Fleming from Hamilton City High School — the five students competing locally for a chance to advance to the national competition.
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out AYAW’s online gallery, a catalog of the 2010 national award-winners. It’s a portal into the minds of the text-messaging generation and an exhibit of work by teenagers, artistically well beyond their years. I have it bookmarked for those moments when I want to reassure myself that our culture and our world are in good hands.
See the Northern California AYAW artists’ work through February at Pacific West Graphics, 1455 South Street, Redding. Meet Holly, Keira, Chris, Shawn and Kesh this Sat., Feb. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m., at a reception for the artists, during Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop.
Cover Art: Painting by Shawn Chao, 2011 Alliance for Young Artists and Writers Competitor, Enterprise High School
Adam Mankoski enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your NorthState weekend events to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This portrait of Adam Mankoski was created by Shasta High School students Chance Norman and Kenzi Bell.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.