Corona, Marcos artists vie for spots in world finals

Local kids ages 13 to 18 displayed their artwork and photography at this year’s Sister Cities Young Artist Program at downtown Tempe’s Hackett House. Robin Sprague, the event’s organizer, presented awards to first-, second- and third-place winners, as well as an assortment of honorable mentions.

“Students compete all over the world,” said Dolores Salhuana, Hackett House Director.

“This is Tempe’s event, and winners will go on to Washington, D.C., for the International

Young Artist competition.”

Every year, Sister City Corp. invites students from Tempe schools to participate in the event. Tempe Sister Cities also invites all eight Sister City counterparts from around the world to participate in the competition.

This year’s theme was “Shaping Your Community for a Greener Future,” via which the young artists and photographers were asked to incorporate elements of sustainability and recycling into their work in the forms of mixed media, oils, watercolors and everyday objects—even such unlikely objets de art as soda cans.

Cristina Fischer, a Corona del Sol High School senior who received honorable mention, said she was excited to a part of the competition.

“I love art,” she said. “I’ve been doing art since I was young, and won my first competition in the fifth grade.”

Fischer said she is in an honors art course taught by Corona teacher Lisa Henschen, who attended the awards presentation.

Joseph Raiton, a Marcos de Niza High School senior who also won an honorable mention, said he wanted to participate in the competition as soon as his teacher mentioned the young artist program.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “I’ve taken three years of art and enjoy everything I’ve learned – this was a great experience for me.”

The first-place winner in the art category was Devon Jones for his piece, “Urban Willow,” a painting that includes a tree mosaic made from cut-out pieces of a soda cans.

“I’m excited to go to Washington, D.C.,” he said.

“I was shocked that I had won first place.”

During the presentation of students’ artwork, Dick Neuheisel, president of Sister Cities Corp., offered words of wisdom to the participating students, urging them to continue with their life passions.

“You are all young heroes, and keep up the great work,” said Neuheisel. “(If) you didn’t win tonight, don’t stop participating – follow your dreams.”

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