Our Laguna: Junior artists recognized for their work

Young artists were recognized Sunday at the Festival of the Arts/PIMCO Foundation Awards ceremony.

It was the grand finale to the 2013 Imagination Celebration, to which more than 6,000 works of art were submitted from schools throughout Orange County. Three hundred of the entries were juried into the festival's 2013 Junior Art Exhibit, 86 of them medal winners.

"These are the cream of the Imagination Celebration," said Kirsten Whalen, festival exhibitor and a juror for the third year of the PIMCO Foundation awards.

Laguna artist Roger Folk and PIMCO Foundation's Mark Porterfield and Sarah Middleton also served as jurors for the awards.

"And what an extremely difficult job it was given the quality of the artwork," said Tom Lamb, festival exhibit chair, who oversees the Junior Art Exhibit.

Porterfield announced the first, second and third awards — including more than one tie — in three categories: two- and three-dimensional works and photography, by grade levels from pre-school through 12th.

Several medalists were students at Laguna Beach schools:

Top of the World first-grader Arthur Proctor won a silver medal for his photograph "Cry oh Cry." Cheryl Beehan was his teacher.

Thurston Middle School teacher Linda Erickson had two winners: bronze medalist Jameson Rolle, a sixth-grader, for his photograph "Rain"; and Mae Young, seventh-grade winner of the silver medal for her photograph "Fixated."

Laguna Beach High School student photographer Cory Kent won a silver medal for "Losing My Religion," and Noah Hung won the bronze for "After Battle." Both seniors were taught by Bridget Porter.

In the two-dimensional category: St. Catherine of Siena Parish School second-grader Brendan Cruz was awarded the silver medal for "Laguna Fire Trucks at Our School."

Anneliese School students took home three medals for their paintings. Kindergartners Tessa Espinola won a gold medal for "The Dancing Peacock," and Brady Schaefgen was awarded third place for "Mein Selbtportraet"( My Self Portrait). Second-grader Macy Draper won a bronze medal for "Diamonds." Her teacher was Heather Sparkuhl, wife of artist and festival employee Pat Sparkuhl.

Thurston sixth-grader Lucas Escobar won a gold medal for his painting "Chi' Gone Crazy." Debra Ann Nickel was his teacher.

Top of the World Elementary School first-grader Katherine Storke was a gold medalist for her ceramic piece "Noelle and Charlotte." The day before, she had won a medal for her participation in the Laguna Beach Library Children's Reading Program.

Cheyenne Eisert, a senior at Laguna Beach High School, tied for third place in three-dimensional entries by students in grades 11 and 12.

A special honorable mention was awarded to a collaboration by Braille Institute students in grades 1 through 6.

Students Ahmad Saadeh, Angel Bazan-Milera, Anthony Gonzalez, Brennan Lamarra, Christina Laty, Christine Lacsina, Even Guerrero, Evelin Gutierrez, Javier Felix Jr., Katelynn Guerrero, Maya Graves, Mikenna Patison, Milagros Moreno, Paul Jang and Yaxha Cruz all painted their hands and placed them on a tree. The pieced was titled "Friendship."

"It is absolutely brilliant," Porterfield said.

Porterfield presented the medals to the winners on the Greensward Stage, with parents, family members, friends, teachers and festival board members Pat Kollenda, Bob Moffett and Anita Mangels there to applaud their accomplishments. Jan Sattler, who was a festival scholarship winner in her youth, also attended.

The awards ceremony was coordinated by senior festival staff members Ron Morissette, Gary Fowler and Sharbie Higuchi.

Festival President Fred Sattler said the success of the Junior Art Exhibit is attributable to the hard work and dedication of many people, including the art teachers and classroom volunteers who provide guidance and inspiration to the young artists.

"It is great to see the support for these young talented artists," Lamb said.

Jurors for the exhibit were Lindsay Buchman, Shelley Rapp Evens, Molly Hutchins, Bernie Jones, Jacquie Moffett, Casey Parlette, Gerald Schwartz, Elaine Twiss, Barbara White, Vinita Voogd, Whalen, Sparkuhl and Lamb.

Festival exhibit coordinator Tim Shockley curated the exhibit, placed prominently near the festival entrance. The area was funded by PIMCO Foundation, which also has funded the awards ceremony for five years and the exhibit catalogue.

"We are proud to be a supporter of the Festival of Arts," Porterfield said.

"Animal Train," painted by gold medal winner and second-grader Leonardo Oliveras was among the entries that got a special mention from Porterfield.

"It has everything on it including a helicopter and an elephant," Porterfield said.

Leonardo, who was 6 when he began painting, said he would like someday to ride on a train or maybe even a subway.

The gold medal-winning "Bunny Apocalypse," done in pen and ink by eighth-grader Daisy Chen, was another Porterfield favorite.

"A fabulous title," Kollenda said.

Artist Stephanie Cunningham's booth is right across the aisle from the Junior Exhibit.

"It is a joy watching the parents taking pictures of the their kids," Cunningham said. "They always say, 'My son's or daughter's is the best.' It is gratifying to see their support."

Pat Hassett said she is awed by the talent of grandson Conner, 11, and his sister Riley, 13, both gold medal winners in the three-dimensional category.

"I can't draw a stick figure," she said. "The art gene is on their mother's side. It was nice that they both won."

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (714) 966-4608 or emailcoastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

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