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Published March 22nd, 2017
LAC honors young local artists
Happy winners at the 14th annual High School Visual Arts Competition: Henry Braff (Bentley Upper School), Nicole Edwards (Acalanes), Charlotte Ensley (Acalanes), April Lindblad (Campolindo), Zoe Venable ( Miramonte). Photo Kara Navolio

The energy and excitement was palpable as close to 300 student artists and their families awaited the announcement of this year's winners of the High School Visual Arts Competition hosted by the Lamorinda Arts Council.
The event, on March 8, was the 14th annual celebration of local young artists from eight area high schools, including the four high schools in the Acalanes Union High School District and four private schools in the Lamorinda community. Over 200 student artworks were judged by a three panel jury of professional artists from the community, all volunteering their time in each of three categories: 2-D, 3-D, and photography/digital design.
Bill Carmel, co-curator for the Orinda Library Art Gallery and one of the judges in the 3-D category, said, "I've judged many student art shows around the greater East Bay, and this is by far one of the best shows I've ever seen of student work. Also, impressive is that many pieces exhibit a sense of humor which is rare. It gives me hope."
One such piece was Campolindo Freshman April Lindblad's sculpture "Light as a Feather." The piece, which features a repurposed lamp covered with brightly colored feathers, won an Honorable Mention Award in the 3-D category.
Cash awards were given for first, second and third place as well as four Honorable Mentions in each category. The "Best of Show" Award was voted on by all nine judges and given this year to Abby Lapporte, a sophomore at Acalanes, for her Untitled acrylic painting of three figures suspended in a surreal setting.
"My piece started as a class assignment to combine collage and painting," said Lapporte. "I knew I wanted to combine things that interested me, so I chose space and nature. It was interesting to connect several images that weren't related to each other individually into one cohesive piece. This process helped me learn how to visualize my art differently."
The awards reception, held at the Orinda Library Art Gallery, included entertainment by the Campolindo Jazz Quartet and a packed house of parents, students, art teachers and other community art supporters. Denise Nomura, organizer of this year's event, said, "We had an overwhelming response from students this year, and the level of talent exceeds our expectations every year."
Maya Jenn, a junior at Campolindo, was required to enter the contest by her Advanced Placement Photography teacher Collette Sweeney. Jenn was happy for the push as the experience paid off with a first place award in the photography/digital design category. Her photo, taken in the Mulholland Open Space Reserve, is a hauntingly beautiful portrait of her friend Lily.
Nicole Edwards, an Acalanes sophomore who won second place in the 2-D category, said, "I was very surprised when I won Second Place, especially when I saw all of the incredible artwork on display. I was inspired to make a turtle drawing from a memorable trip I had with close friends and family in Maui. It makes me very happy that people appreciated my work!"
Nathan Shin was similarly surprised; he didn't find out until the next day that his cardboard sculpture entitled "Full Metal Alchemist" won second place in the 3-D category. "The idea for the piece came from a Manga (graphic novel) I was reading in which the characters are trying to recreate a human and fail." Shin plans to spend his winnings on taking his family out for dinner to celebrate.
First place winner in the 3-D category for his ceramic sculpture "Fish," Aidan McBride, was inspired by a wooden head sculpture he saw at the Natural History Museum in New York. It evolved from a series of ideas over a five-month period into a 50-pound hand-sculpted head with bulging eyes. McBride also won an honorable mention award in the 2D category. McBride stated, "It was pretty exciting to win, and it was nice to see what other schools and artists are doing. I will spend the award money on my gap year travels."
Lawrence Khol, president of the Lamorinda Arts Council, presented the awards reminding all the students that "you are all winners. Your work will be seen by thousands of people during the month by visitors to the gallery. I'm in awe of the talent this year." The exhibit will run through March 30.
The contest was sponsored by the Moraga Valley Kiwanis Club, the Educational Foundation of Orinda, Lafayette Partners in Education, and the Moraga Education Foundation.
List of winners
Best of Show: Untitled by Abby Lapporte, Acalanes, 10th grade
1st place: "Cara" by Anastasia Leones, Acalanes 11th grade
2nd place: "Fractured Hawaiian Sea Turtle" by Nicole Edwards, Acalanes 10th grade
3rd place: Untitled by Jadey Sadoff, Acalanes, 12th grade
Honorable Mentions:
"Girl" by Elle Hoarau, Acalanes, 11th grade
"Homeless" by Ana Bernardo, Campolindo, 12th grade
"Cupcakes" by Grace Schmidt, Campolindo, 11th grade
"Will to Power" by Aidan McBride, Miramonte, 11th grade
1st place: "Fish" by Aidan McBride, Miramonte, 11th grade
2nd place: "Full Metal Alchemist" by Nathan Shin, Las Lomas, 11th grade
3rd place: "Humans" by Zoe Venable, Miramonte, 11th grade
Honorable Mentions:
"Light as a Feather" by April Lindblad, Campolindo, 9th grade
"A Cardboard Fist" by Justin Li, Las Lomas, 9th grade
"Coil Vessel" by Charlotte Ensley, Acalanes, 12th grade
"Midnight" by Dana Chan, Miramonte, 12th grade
Photography/Digital Design
1st place: Untitled by Maya Jenn, Campolindo, 11th grade
2nd place: Untitled by Isabel Owens, Campolindo, 12th grade
3rd place: "Solitary" by Isobel Whitehead, Acalanes, 11th grade
Honorable Mentions:
Untitled by Emilie Naughten, Campolindo, 12th grade
Untitled by Vincent Ho, Campolindo, 12th grade
"Poking the Bubble" by Henry Braff, Bentley Upper School, 11th grade
"Dancing Through Life" by Nell Kessenich, Acalanes, 10th grade

Top left: 2D third place by Jadey Sadoff; bottom row from left: 2D second place by Nicole Edwards; Best in Show by Abby Lapporte; and 2D first place by Anastasia Leones. Photo Andy Scheck

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