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Students shine in Youth Hope competition

By siw heede For the Redlands Community News


Annette Weis, coordinator of Redlands Cinema Classic, presents a second-place award to Benjamin Aikin, a kindergartener who lives in Redlands. His sister, fourth-grader Alissa Aikin, won an honorable mention. Redlands Community News file photo by James Folmer

Best in Show and first place winner Nicole Austin, ninth-grader at Redlands High School, next to her winning collage.

For the 10th annual Redlands Festival of Art, a big part of the show was centered around kids and their ability to experience art.


A large pavilion hosted the Youth Art Expo and hands-on experiences. Redlands High School art students did face painting for the many kids waiting in line at the Kids Zone.


Books were handed out on Saturday by the Sunrise Rotary bookmobile and Redlands Symphony hosted an instrument petting zoo. At every turn there was something fun for kids at the festival.


Live music entertained at three sections of the festival as well. For founder and chairwoman of the festival, Shirley Harry, it was important to include children and facilitate the joy of art and to support their own artistic endeavors.


“I thought the quality was really good. The judges were super impressed,” said Suzanne Burke of Redlands Art Association.


She and Annette Weis, coordinator of Redlands Cinema Classic, oversaw the Youth Art Expo. Seven professional artists decided the winners of the Youth Art Exhibit.

“There were constantly comments of wow. They were amazed,” said Burke.


“It was a symbolic piece I made for art class,” said Nicole Austin, 9th grader from Redlands High School, who won first place and Best in Show in the 9th-12th grade category. Her collage featured four sections: inspiration from other artists, to be a woman in America, having fun and Alice in Wonderland. “It’s about finding your muchness and I did find that through art,” she said. “I am different than everyone else but that’s what makes me unique,” she said. “I really love making art. I feel honored and so blessed to have won. I thank my mom and my art teacher, Mrs. Roghair.”


Normally, they would have up to 170 entries into the Youth Art Exhibit.


“We were scared when there were 51 entries on Tuesday,” Burke said with a laugh. In total 130 entered the competition this year. She expects double the entries next year.

“I have no doubt about it,” she added.


This year, special needs students from Redlands East Valley High School participated in the ninth- through 12th-grade category.


“We want more special needs entries next year,” Burke said.


Next to the Youth Art Expo on Fourth Street, eight students had taken up space on the sidewalk. The Chalk Art demonstration by primarily Redlands High School and Redlands East Valley High School students were competing for prize money generously sponsored by the Margaret Clark Art Education Enrichment Fund (MCAEEF), which also sponsored the Youth Art Expo and Kids’ Zone.


“None of this would have happened without Annette Weis of MCAEEF,” said Burke.

“I’m a bit put on the spot but I don’t mind it,” said senior art student at Redlands High School, Rowan Dettleff who worked on Castle in the Sky from 1986 by Michigo Yasuda on the sidewalk.


“People have been kind in their comments,” he added. The chalk artists had from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to finish. Rules were to choose to copy an art piece by an artist who died before the year 2000.


All age groups were busy painting on large pieces of paper, learning print techniques and painting rocks nearby. All the newly created art pieces were then hung on the walls of the pavilion. Every participant got to have their art piece displayed next to the Youth Art Expo exhibit and to the Festival of Arts itself.

Youth Art Expo winners of 2022


Kindergarten to second grade

First place and Best in Show: Anabel Grimley, second grade

Second: Benjamin Aikin, kindergarten

Third: Maren Cutts, second grade

Honorable mention: Shaunah Corrin, first grade


Third to fifth grade

First place: Caleb Liu, third grade

Second: Jayden Liu, fifth grade

Third: Kendall Angus, fifth grade

Honorable mention: Anika Cutts, third grade, and Alissa Aikin, fourth grade


Sixth to eighth grade

First place Aaron Alcala, eighth grade

Second: Gabrielle Alonzo, sixth grade.

Third: Mya O’Camb, seventh grade

Honorable mention: Isabelle Kuan, eighth grade


Ninth to 12th grade

First place and Best in Show: Nicole Austin, ninth grade

Second: Morgan McCloskey, 11th grade

Third: Mateo Ramirez, 12th grade

Honorable mention: Yichen Gao, 11th grade


Chalk Art winners

First place: Mia Altenbach, 10th grade, Redlands East Valley High School.

Second: Jason Guitierez, 12th grade, Redlands East Valley High School.

Third: Rose Bathley, 10th grade, Redlands East Valley High School.

Honorable mention: Quinn Regalado and Camille Weathers, both fifth grade, Smiley Elementary.


Read the article at the Redlands Community News

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