by Frances (’14)

Every year, the National YoungArts Foundation chooses 150 high school finalists to attend YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. This year, I was among them; as a writing finalist, I got to fly across the country to spend eight days with amazing, talented artists. Spending time with those kids awakened me immediately. At SOTA, I find that we generally expect to be the best. We tend to put ourselves in a bubble of “we’re the best” and look at others as though we know best, as though we know everything there is to know about our art. The thing is, almost every other finalist at YoungArts Week came from an art school. They’d all had years of training in their disciplines, and nobody was a beginner. I realized this immediately, on the first day, when the twenty-four writing finalists shared their work with each other. Everybody knew what they were doing. Afterwards, we all got lunch, and sat at the table, speechless. It was a humbling experience for all of us, but not because any of us felt we were bad writers; instead, it was because everyone else was so good. Over the course of the week, when we watched the other disciplines perform, I experienced similar feelings. The musicians moved like athletes; the opera singers sang so loud my ears rang; the filmmakers made me cry. Every night, as we got snacks by the pool, we were in awe of each other, and by the end, I felt like I’d learned a lot about the diversity and talent of America. I met people from all over the country. There were kids from states I was beginning to think might only exist on the map. Because of this, I think everyone should apply for YoungArts. Going to YoungArts Week, is a way to get beyond ourselves and our own bubbles, connect with the greater artistic community of our country, and meet people with talent that will stun you. I promise. There’s more out there than you’d expect.

Find the Frances

Art & Film – Tarkovsky Essay Contest

One of the earliest units Creative Writing delved into this semester was an “art unit” taught by Ronald Chase, where he helped us understand the changing landscape, subject, and techniques of art, and taught us ways in which we communicate about art. Why use, “I just don’t like it very much,” when you can go much deeper into the composition and specify? “This blank canvas may attempt to communicate a blank and slightly saturated view of what art has fallen into, but fails because it is, in effect, a blank canvas.”

The unit concluded with an essay contest in which we were to enter: the 2012 Tarkovsky Essay Contest, involving a short essay on any of the Art & Film movies we had seen and wanted to write about. The lucky winners were: Abigail Schott-Rosenfield, 11th grade, Tarkovsky Prize winner; Frances Saux, 11th grade, 2nd Place; Midori Chen, 11th Grade, 3rd Place; and Bailey Lewis Van, 10th Grade, runner-up.

A link to all of their essays can be found here. Congrats to the winners and all other C-Dubs who entered!

Coastal Art & Poetry Contest

This is an excellent opportunity for a FREE submission opportunity with cool prizes. Check it out:

WHAT: Entries must have a California coastal or California marine theme (e.g. no tropical or Arctic settings or species — for help with California species, click here.) Poems and artwork must be student’s original work. If using a photo model taken by someone else, image must be significantly altered to avoid plagiarism. Art should be no larger than 11 inches by 17 inches. Acceptable art media are paint, pencil, markers, ink, crayon, chalk or pastel (fixed), and collage. Three-dimensional pieces, computer printouts, photography, or photocopies are not eligible in this contest. All entries must include a completed contestEntry Form.Winners will be selected in each of five grade-level categories (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th, and 10th-12th) in both art and poetry to receive a gift certificate for $100 to an art supply store (for winners in art) or book store (for winners in poetry). Winners and honorable mentions will receive tickets to Aquarium of the Pacific, courtesy of the Aquarium. Each sponsoring teacher will receive a gift certificate for $50 for educational materials from Acorn Naturalists.
WHEN: Entries must be postmarked by January 31, 2013.
HOW: Review and complete the Guidelines and Entry Form and submit it with your art or poetry to:COASTAL ART AND POETRY CONTEST
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105
Students may have their work featured in California Coastal Commission materials and webpages. Students may enter multiple pieces. Artwork will only be returned if it is submitted with adequate postage and an address label for reuse of your original packaging (preferred) or a self-addressed, stamped envelope of the correct size. Entries that do not include these items at the time of submittal can not be returned. Poetry will not be returned. Winners and honorable mentions may be retained by the Commission for approximately one year for public exhibit.

For more information, or to request to have an entry form emailed, mailed, or faxed to you, contact the California Coastal Commission at
800-COAST-4U or

Alexa Sharpe, 12th grade, Torrance
Honorable Mention in 2012