Students' art towers over the rest in airport contest

Three students from Glendale on Thursday night took a step closer to having their artwork soar in the skies above Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

The art showcase is part of the Glendale-Burbank- Pasadena Airport Authority’s first-ever terminal tower banner contest. High school students from the Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena school districts were eligible to enter the contest, which asked them to create a two-dimensional piece of art in accord with the theme, “Flight: A Gateway to Dreams.”

In Glendale on Thursday night, the student applicants from the Glendale Unified School District were further narrowed from 11 to three.

Those three students — Evian Vicencio Olivares, a senior at Glendale High; Siobhan Hebron, a senior at Crescenta Valley High; and Joanna Lee, also a senior at Crescenta Valley High — will go on to the last round of the competition, and one of those students’ work will hang from the airport’s terminal tower, said Joan Shoff, the visual and performing arts coordinator for the school district.

“We are guaranteed a winner to be hanging on the airport tower,” Shoff said.

Burbank and Pasadena will narrow their student submissions to three by the end of the month, and then each city will determine which banner will be displayed at the airport, said Lucy Burghdorf, an airport spokeswoman.

In Glendale and Pasadena, their arts and culture commissions will choose the final art selection; in Burbank, the Art in Public Places committee will make the final determination, Burghdorf said.

On Thursday, three judges looked at 11 pieces of artwork submitted by students from Clark Magnet High School, Hoover High, Glendale High and Crescenta Valley High that had made it to the districtwide competition, and selected three that they thought best fulfilled criteria like artistic merit, creativity, legibility and adherence to theme.

The judges lauded the creativity exhibited in Olivares’ work, a painting that depicts images such as an airplane, the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge twisting out of an Aladdin-style magic lamp.

“This is one of the highest marks for an original, creative idea,” said Jeff Blyth, a local filmmaker who served as a judge.

The judges commended Lee on how she had executed her acrylic painting, which showed children running in a field, flying kites and playing with model airplanes, all underneath an airplane soaring through a light blue sky.

Hebron’s work was a portrait of a person holding an airplane in her cupped hands, blowing on it as if making a wish.

“It’s bold and it’s graphic,” said Sharon Collins, the executive director of the Glendale Community Foundation.

All three students are aspiring artists, said their art teachers — Sarah Wiggins, from Crescenta Valley High, and Mary Jo Bradley, from Glendale High.

Out of the many art competitions out there for young artists, this was one with an especially valuable prize — visibility for one’s work, Wiggins said.

“This is one where it’s exposure,” she said.

The final winners from each school district should be selected by this spring, and the art will then be turned into banners that will be hung during the summer, said Victor Gill, the airport’s director of public affairs.

Each school district will also receive $2,500 as a licensing fee so that the airport can use the works exclusively.

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