Santa Clarita SISTER CITIES Young Artists and Authors Showcase
This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic affected not just our community but countries across the globe. Despite those challenges, students prevailed through their ability to adapt and, for some, by expressing themselves through art. Each year, the Santa Clarita Sister Cities program embraces the arts in high schools and hosts a literature and art competition open to students ages 13-18 from Santa Clarita and its sister cities in Tena, Ecuador and Sariaya, Philippines.
This showcase offered students the opportunity to submit a variety of art, including photography, music, poetry, artwork and essays. All of the submissions had to address this year’s current theme — “United in Hope.” The Sister Cities organization chose this theme since hope is a uniting force and the younger generation is capable of dreaming of a human existence that is even more dynamic, more advance and more resilient than ever before.
With over 80 submissions, six students from the William S. Hart School District won in each respective category. Valencia High School student, Dongchan Im, won for his poem titled, And Yet I/Hear Tomorrow. Im says that he drew his inspiration from walking around town with his mask on, which allowed him to clear his mind and think. Lizbet Herrera, a student from Bowman High School, won for her photography submission. Herrera says that throughout the pandemic, she was able to get closer to nature but still be socially distanced, which influenced her photo.
Donnah Moon of West Ranch High School won in the artwork category for her watercolor portraits titled, Sewing us Together. Moon says, “During this time, many people have faced discrimination and hardships, but were still able to come together and have each other’s backs, standing up for the lives of others. To see it happen even though we cannot come in contact during COVID is such a beautiful thing, which inspired me to draw this piece.”
Inspired by the ability to express her feelings about the current state of the world, Saugus High School student Sophia Rostamos’ creative essay United in hope…and action won in the essays category.
In the music category, Hart High School student Danielle Sligh was chosen as the winner for her song titled Better Together in the original music category. “When obstacles come in life, the people who care about you are who you turn to,” said Sligh. “COVID made this much harder, though not impossible.” Sligh says it was the teachers, first responders and the community who were united during this time is what inspired her to write this song. Emma Reed, a student from Canyon High School, won in the category of re-interpreted music for her song titled Standards. “Artists are at the forefront of making that happen. We have the platform to do so, and I think more of the industry should be using theirs,” says Reed. “We need more representation of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and lifestyles available to our audiences.”
Each of these winning pieces of art will be sent to Washington D.C. to compete with submissions from other Sister Cities organizations across the United States for a $1,000 grand prize in each category. For more information on the Santa Clarita Sister Cities program, visit www.santa-clarita.com/SisterCities
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