The Festival of Arts showcases art by gifted Orange County students from kindergarten to high school seniors — and the PIMCO Foundation rewards them.
Foundation executive director and Laguna Beach arts patron Mark Porterfield awarded gold, silver and bronze medals Sunday to 42 student artists out of the 300 juried into the 2012 Junior Art Exhibit from 4,000 entries.
"These are the select of the select," said Bernie Jones, a juror for the junior art show in which he once exhibited.
The young artists see life in a different form — they see outside the box, said Jones, a retired fine arts coordinator for the Garden Grove Unified School District and Orange County Imagination Celebration.
"And PIMCO recognizes them," Jones said.
PIMCO Foundation has funded and presented the awards for three years, but the festival has exhibited student art since 1947.
"The exhibit has become not only a showcase for young Orange County student artists, but also a vivid testimonial to the value and importance of continuing arts education in our school systems," said festival President Fred Sattler.
Twelve of the student works are featured on postcards sold in the festival shop near the entry to the grounds. Proceeds help support the development of art programs in county schools.
Award winners were selected by Porterfield and Tammie Arnold from PIMCO and festival exhibitors Molly Hutchings, herself a former student exhibitor, and Roger Folk.
"This is my favorite event except when I am butchering the names," said Porterfield, who announced the winners.
The program began with a six-minute video on the history of the exhibit.
"Now you all know more about the evolution of the Junior Art Exhibit and its importance to the community and the festival's mission of supporting arts education," said Master of Ceremonies Tom Lamb, a festival board member.
Porterfield invited the teachers to come to the podium when their students were presented with the medals. He also noted his special favorites among the entries with his comments, which are next to winner names.
Gold medals for two-dimensional works were awarded to the following:
Pre-kindergarten: Hannah Lewis
Kindergarten: Mahealani Akui
First grade: Noah Zoller
Second grade: Eva Gardner, Laguna Beach
Third grade: Nava Bozorgmehri, who exhibited "best use of newspaper."
Fourth grade: Miya Grant
Fifth grade: Jade Nicoletti, Laguna Beach
Sixth grade: Serena Nye
Seventh grade: Claudia Gonzales
Eighth grade: Nicholas Ouklore
Ninth grade: Coung Tran
10th grade: Mindy Vo
11th grade: Alena Gretencord, who "made one of the festival officials cry because it is so beautiful and meant so much to her."
12th grade: Kendall Hober — "Trader Joe's should give her a gift certificate for using their bag."
As for Vo's entry, titled "Exploding Fish," it was on the cover of the Junior Art catalog.
"I couldn't figure out the title," Porterfield said as he presented her medal.
"I couldn't think of a title, and I didn't think the judges would print it," Vo said.
Silver medals were handed out to the following students (comments are again from Porterfield):
Pre-kindergarten: Katie Baker
Kindergarten: Sienna Shaw
First grade: Sasha Davila — "One of my all-time favorites."
Second grade: Lacie Vadkerti
Third grade: Lauren Perri
Fourth grade: Neil Hudson — "Good use of color."
Fifth grade: Devon Bowen — "Would make a great fabric."
Sixth grade: Emma Rafatjoo
Seventh grade: Joanne Lee
Eighth grade: Jessica Jung
Ninth grade: Brandon Diep
10th grade: Nestor Sanchez
11th grade: Danny Pham
12th grade: Andre Spengler
Bronze medals were given to:
Pre-Kindergarten: Brandon McCoy
Kindergarten: Madeleine Lubavin and Chase Decker, whose "Pepperoni Face" was also one of Porterfield's all-time favorites.
First grade: Micah Cheng
Second grade: Dylan Cormac
Third grade: Talia Gerber, "Inspired by Frieda Kalo"
Fourth grade: Jiajun Ni
Fifth grade: Arpna Ghanshani
Sixth grade: Emily Liu and Anna Crawley
Seventh grade: Amy Byeon — "Her 'Egyptian Scarab' looked like it was right out of a textbook."
Eighth grade: Chelsea Velez and Madison Long
Ninth grade: Andrew Vu
10th grade: Sean Ngo and Sabrina Torres
11th grade: Jeannie Nguyen
12th grade: Holly Gale
Medals for 3-D works by K-12 students were also handed out.
Gold medals were awarded to Laguna Beach fifth-grader Lucinda Becker and high school junior Sidra Morgan Montoy.
Silver medals went to kindergartner Ven Varon and senior Erik Mora.
First-grader Isabella Montgomery, third-grader Jack Morehart, high school senior Ed Milanino, whose "Untitled" piece was another of Porterfield's all-time favorites, and junior Taegin Sung won bronze medals.
Medals for photography included gold medals to first-grader Liam Bixby and senior Andrea Zuluaga. Laguna Beach fourth-grader Kennedy Roller and 10th-grader Holly Matsuoka took home the silver medals. Bronze medals were awarded to 10th-grader Terry Vo and Laguna Beach fifth-grader Aiden Greengard.