2024 Young Artists Showcase Honors Local Students

1st Place art by Laura Spieler, San Marcos High School (Courtesy)

On April 28 judges gathered to select Sister Cities International Santa Barbara Sister Cities YAAS – Young Artists & Authors Award winners at the home of past president Gilbert Garcia, where art experts Ann Hefferman and Kathy Koury retired (CCP) carefully selected the 2024 YAAS category winners for the Classic 2 Art submitted by Santa Barbara area student artists ages 13-18. Koury and Hefferman shared it was difficult to choose three works considering the fine talent displayed for consideration.

Kai Tepper SBCEO Children’s Creative Project and Margaret Saavedra Sister Cities welcome YAAS guests (Courtesy)

Judging for the Photography/Digital Art awards was done by Gary Lambert, a former house photographer for the Granada Theatre and The Arlington Theatre, who covered the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) red carpets since it’s inception, and kindly offered to judge this new YAAS category, along with Christopher Broughton, Jenny Jones, and Jason Hughes. “I found the entries extremely unusual and very focused on the theme of “Climatescape: Resilient Cities for Tomorrow’s Climate,” said photographer Gary Lambert.

Ronchietto Family show their love for 3rd place Art winner Camila Ronchietto, Dos Pueblos HS (Courtesy)

The key implement of Sister Cities International’s annual Young Artists and Authors Showcase is the theme. The 2024 theme Climatescape; Resilient Cities for Tomorrow’s Climate promoted emphasis on the worlds changing climates and the cities ability to be resilient in the face of these changes, which speaks to the organization’s goal to promote mutual understanding through establishing relationships between cities and communities.

1st Place photo Joselyn Vazquez Gonzalez, Dos Pueblos HS (Courtesy)

Winning artists for this year’s Classic 2 D Art included 1st Place prize to 17 year old Laura Spieler, San Marcos High School; 2nd Place prize Aung Zaw, San Marcos High School, age 16 and 3rd place prize to Camila Ronchietto, 15 years old from Dos Pueblos High School.  Photography/Digital Art 1st place went to Joselyn Vazquez Gonzales, 14 years old from Dos Pueblos High School, 2nd place to Ismael Olea, 15 years, Dos Pueblos High School, and 3rd place to Sydney Masterson, 15 years old  from Dos Pueblos High School. The 1st place winner‘s submissions will be sent to Sister Cities International to compete for the $1000 top national prize.

Ismael Olea (Courtesy)

Proud parents and friends enjoyed sponsor refreshments in the Santa Barbara County Education Office Auditorium, as the certificates and cash awards were presented by Margaret Saavedra, Chair of the Sister Cities International Santa Barbara Advisory Board, Kai Tepper, Director SBCEO Children’s Creative Project, and Kelly Mitchell (CCP). Commemorative photos were taken of winners, as well as all students in the competition attending with family members and teachers. Proud Grandpa Wally and the entire Ronchietta family shared their happiness for Camila Ronchietta who won 3rd prize award, and 1st place art winner Sydney Masterson happily posed for a photo with her proud dad.

Proud dad with 1st Place Winner Laura Spieler, San Marcos High School (Courtesy)

Sister Cities International is  the U.S. national organization for nearly  500+ communities, and their 1800+ partners in 140+ countries around the world. The SCI focus on personal diplomacy now has four key themes: economic development, arts and culture, youth and education, and humanitarian assistance. The people-to-people program began 68 years ago from a proposal made by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation one individual, one community at a time.” Current Santa Barbara Sister Cities include Kotor, Montenegro, Miraflores, Peru, Patras, Greece, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Toba, Japan, and Weihai, China.

Kudos to the village of volunteers, sister city members, judges and patrons who made this art filled afternoon possible, as well as the local area art teachers and the young artists who submitted their work. For member information visit: www.cityofsantabarbara.org. www.Sistercities.org., www.ccp.sbceo.org.

Bonnie Carroll

Written by Bonnie Carroll

Writer, publisher, editor over 30 years, Bonnie Carroll is the present Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News founded 2005. She is also a contributor to a bevy of magazine and newspapers California and international since 1983.

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