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Published March 27th, 2024
Most entries, biggest audience for annual high school art competition awards
Emily Bennett receiving her Best in Show award

Orinda Library Auditorium was standing room only on Thursday, March 14, as the awards to the winners of the annual Lamorinda Arts Council High School Visual Arts Competition were announced. The competition was open to all high school students who either live or attend school in Lamorinda and/or the Acalanes Union High School District, which includes Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek. This year, students were limited to submitting one piece of work per category, but could enter multiple categories.
The categories are 2D, including painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, and collage; 3D, including ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and construction; Photography, including traditional film and digital photography; and Digital Art, sponsored by the Lamorinda Arts Alliance, which was defined as, "two-dimensional artwork produced or manipulated on a computer platform and then printed on paper, canvas, or other material. The artwork may be an original digital painting, a digital graphic or illustration, or a photo image that has been manipulated beyond enhancement or applying effect to a photograph." Use of artificial intelligence software was prohibited.
The awards conferred cash prizes in Best of Show ($250), First Place ($250), Second Place ($150) and Third Place ($50), while honorable mention winners were given certificates. There were more than 250 submissions for the competition, which is believed to be a competition high. Professionals with experience in the categories judged the competition based on content; creativity and originality; and degree of expertise in the chosen medium.
The Best in Show award went to an acrylic ink work entitled Ego by Emily Bennett, an 11th grade student at Acalanes, teacher Robert Porter.
2D awards went to First Place: True Forms, ink fineliner, by Benjamin Wang, 12 grade, Head-Royce Upper School, artwork created independently; Second Place: Middleman, oil paint, charcoal, by Joseph Pak, 12th grade, College Preparatory School, artwork created independently; and Third Place: Girls Night In, graphite and colored pencil, by Vivian Tolajian, 11th grade, Campolindo High School, teacher, Justin Seligman.
3D honors were awarded to First Place: Juliet, Ceramics, by Gabriella Bertot, 12th grade, Miramonte High School, teacher: Gavin Kermode; Second Place: The Real Gavel, clay, acrylic paint, by Toby Largier, 12th grade, Bentley Upper School, teacher: Joanne Ludwig; and Third Place: The Acquainted, mixed media, by Noah Hevel, 12th grade, Acalanes Center for Independent Study, teacher: Raquel Hallquist.
In Photography, First Place went to: A Boy and his Camera, Nikon DSLR, by Sol Dente, 12th grade, Campolindo High School, teacher Collette Sweeney; Second Place Sustenance, Canon Rebel T7 with an 18-55 lens, by Jackson Oliver, 12th Grade, Campolindo High School, Teacher Collette Sweeney; and Third Place: Seeing Double, black & white film by Amara Coughlin, 11th grade, Bentley Upper School, teacher Aram Muksian.
In Digital Art: First Place went to: Human Nature, Ink, digital overlay, by Joseph Pak, 12th grade, College Preparatory School, Artwork created independently; Second Place: Indulgence, digital, by Grace Franklin, 12th grade, Campolindo High School, teacher: Justin Seligman; and: Third Place: Morning Paper, Procreate, by Vivian Tolajian, 11th grade, Campolindo High School, teacher: Justin Seligman.
The following Honorable Mentions were also awarded: for 2D honorable mentions were Daydreaming, acrylic paint & ink pen, by Lucy Dell, 11th grade, Las Lomas High School, teacher Anne Scallon and Keppra, acrylic and thread on paper, by Sadie Poole, 11th grade, Acalanes High School, teacher: Robert Porter.
3D honorable mentions went to: Fragile Rage, ceramics, glaze & acrylic paint, by Amelia Adams-Brace, 12th grade, Miramonte High School, teacher Gavin Kermode and Imperfect Life, ceramics, by Olivia Sully, 10th grade, Bentley Upper School, artwork created independently.
Photography: The Man on 12th, Injet print Tobin Haas-Dehejia, 12th Grade, Bentley Upper School, teacher Aram Muksian and Swirl, slow shutter speed photography by Albert Bai,10th grade Bentley upper school teacher, Aram Muksian.
In the Digital Art category honorable mentions were given to Hiding the Hare, Procreate-soft chalk, round brush, by Matisse Smith Vuong, 12th grade, Campolindo High School, teacher: Justin Seligman, and Hope, digital by Anisa Huthman, 11th grade, Las Lomas High School, Artwork created independently.
The competition was sponsored by Bentley School, Lamorinda Arts Alliance, and John & JoAnn Baker. Cash awards totaled $2,050. All entries will remain on display in the Orinda Library Gallery until April 6.

Joseph Pak First Place in Digital Art Photos Josephine Sabolboro

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