20th Annual Student Art Show Celebrates Students’ Connection to the Santa Barbara Channel

Channelkeeper’s Student Art Show (Courtesy)

By Channelkeeper’s Student Art Show

On May 4, 2023, the community gathered at Jodi House Gallery to honor inspiring young artists at a reception and awards ceremony hosted by local environmental non-profit, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

For twenty years, Channelkeeper’s Student Art Show has celebrated the connection between young people and the ocean. Every spring, high school students from Carpinteria to Goleta are invited to create and submit their interpretations of what the Santa Barbara Channel means to them. With its colorful array of shapes, textures, and patterns, the artwork produced by these young artists celebrates the remarkable beauty and biodiversity of the Santa Barbara Channel, and it also inspires our community to protect it.

In honor of the show’s 20th anniversary, Michael Irwin and Judith Raimondi, who for many years supported the show as art teachers, juried the show and selected the award-winning pieces. They were amazed by the caliber of the artwork and noted the prevalence of sculptures submitted this year.

“The students’ artwork was creative and insightful,” said Channelkeeper’s executive director Ted Morton. “I really enjoyed learning about the motivation behind the students’ pieces and I was impressed with how well they expressed their personal connection to Santa Barbara Channel.”

Laura Capps, County Supervisor for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, District 2, presented the awards.

First place was awarded to Lucy London for her watercolor painting titled, The Diversity of Fish-es. Second place went to Alexis Botella for What Lurks at the Bottom, a scratchboard triptych. Elina Lopez Garza’s Hidden in the Fronds, a ceramic vessel featuring leopard sharks earned third place, while the Environmental Ethic Award went to Julia Medina for Under the Collage. Two Juror’s Choice Award recipients were selected: Sofia Sasseen’s Chords out of the Caws and Noelle Gerthoffer’s Sharp Thorns. Honorable mentions were given to Aislinn Kisner, Lucia Wolf, and Anneliese Oprea.

Art submissions were accompanied by a powerful statement explaining the artist’s personal connection to the Santa Barbara Channel and the environment.

In her artist’s statement, first-place winner Lucy London wrote, “…it’s come to my attention that even incredibly biodiverse marine regions (like the Santa Barbara Channel) are under threat from human impacts. This piece is inspired by a statistic that I heard, which said that “by 2025 there will be 1 ton of trash in the ocean for every 1 ton of fish.” In order to communicate this fact to people, and hopefully inspire them to change, I made a piece styled after old encyclopedia pages, but had about half of the “fish” pictured actually be trash. Our oceans, though vast, are struggling, but it’s not too late to save them.”

Together, these creative works of art and meaningful statements convey a message of hope.
“Every year we are amazed by the caliber of the student artwork, and we are inspired by the personal stories behind each piece,” says Education and Outreach Director Penny Owens. “Channelkeeper is dedicated to protecting our local waterways and fostering environmental awareness and stewardship in today’s youth. Seeing the artwork celebrating the natural beauty of the Santa Barbara Channel and the messages and artist statements by the students gives us hope that our future is in good hands.”

Over the past two decades, more than 4,000 students have submitted art to Channelkeeper’s Student Art Show.

The show is sponsored by Trillium Enterprise, Inc. and the City of Goleta.

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