youth awards

Thirteen Students Win National Awards from Scholastic Art & Writing

Our students have won three incredible national honors! The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards selected these three projects for National Awards, giving them a Gold Medal (the most outstanding works in the nation) or Silver Medal (works demonstrating high honors on the national level). National Medalists are recognized in part at the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Congratulations to Venice Arts' students Daniel Leon (Gold Medal - best in grade for Comics); Samantha Angulo, Calista Arevalo, Caiden Chen, Evon Douthard, Nico Federovitch, Maximiliano Guillen, Adam Iglesias, Lela Jennings, Owen Kirschner, Kayla Maldonado, and Marcel Martinez (Gold Medal - best in grade for Film/Animation); and Indigo Mapa  (Silver - best In grade for photo)!

Venice Arts' Students Win Big at Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

It's awards season in Los Angeles, and not just for the professionals! The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which recognize the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provide opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. Venice Arts' students won 30 Scholastic Art Awards, including 7 Gold Awards (the highest honor), 4 Silver Awards, and 19 Honorable Mentions. And two students were finalists for the Photographer's Forum High School and College Contest. 

We could not be more proud of our students! Click here to see the full list of student awards (over 100 in the past three years!) and check out their award-winning work in the gallery above.

VA Alumna Named to Lucie Foundation $2500 Emerging Artist Scholarship Shortlist

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Venice Arts' Alumna Angela Francis was recently named to the Lucie Foundation's $2500 Emerging Artist Scholarship Shortlist. The prestigious award is open to photographers worldwide and seeks to support emerging talent with vision and dynamic ideas that challenge and progress the art form of still photography into work that compels. We're so proud of Angela's continued accomplishments in the photographic field!

Since being named as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2014, Angela has continued her photographic journey, and has returned to Venice Arts this summer to intern and mentor other youth. About her current body of work, Angela writes:

"If you don’t know where you come from, you can’t know where you are going. Much of my childhood was spent at the foot of my Granny’s bed, listening to the stories of her past. Her photographs, along with adaptations of our family history, taught me the art of conversation, the importance of carrying on the tradition of storytelling. From glimpses of Granny’s personal history, I learned how my family landed on South Orange Drive. My current focus is on black womanhood and the elimination of the notion of a single story. The project I propose is a reflection on the multifaceted nature of black female identities. For decades, black women have taken on the lessons and responsibilities of their mothers: offering their bodies up as testimony, contesting silence and suppression. The black female identity is a social product, and her intricacies are often overlooked and minimized by her social location and the oppressions that come with being Black and female in this world....This is an extension of Granny’s story, as well as the people who have influenced me, within and outside of my craft."

VA Alumna Featured on Youth Media Reporter

Venice Arts' alumna Ashley Sanchez was recently featured on Youth Media Reporter, a peer-reviewed, professional journal for scholars, practitioners, and others who develop, organize, teach, study, and support youth media practices and programs. 

Reflecting on her relationship to photography, Ashley writes:

"I found out about Venice Arts in 10th grade. I found myself at Venice Arts taking a Photography class, and I became passionate about photography. I would carry my camera with me everywhere and get ideas while walking the streets. Looking into a camera, I see things in a different way. Before, I didn’t look at lighting or composition in my day-to-day life. Now, when I’m in the moment or simply see something, I automatically think this could be a good photo if this and this was changed. I see my life in photos because of photography."


Check out Dum Spiro Spero, the book she produced while at Venice Arts, at the Youth Media Reporter link above.

Advanced Studies Student wins Young Photographer Award from be-Art magazine

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Andrea Abrego is the inaugural winner of the YPA (Young Photographer Award), which recognizes an exemplary portfolio produced by an Advanced Studies Photography student from Venice Arts.

Initiated and organized by Art Critic and be-Art magazine Publisher Beatrice Chassepot, the awardee was chosen by a prestigious jury that included Gallerist Isabelle Mesnil, Photojournalist Barbara Davidson, Photographer Ken Gonzales-Day, and Photographer Sandrine Hermand-Grisel. As part of the prize, one of Andrea’s photographs will be chosen by Mesnil, Judge & Owner of NextLevel Galerie, to be exhibited in a group show in the gallery in Paris, France. The winning portfolio can also be seen online on be-Art magazine and All-About-Photo.com, and will become part of be-Art’s “Emerging Artist” selection.

You can see Andrea's winning portfolio book, Embracing Herself here.

Congratulations, Andrea! And a big thank you to the jury and to Beatrice for spearheading this initiative, and a special thanks to Luis de Jesus, Owner of Luis de Jesus Los Angeles Gallery, and Aline Smithson, LENSCRATCH.

Celebrating Community and Creativity at Our 2016 Student Culminating Exhibition

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Hundreds of students, families, and community members came out for this special exhibition showcasing the best of our students' films, photographs, animations, comics, and mixed- and multi-media pieces from our award-winning Art Mentoring workshops. 

This fun community celebration included a family potluck and complimentary ice cream from our friends at Salt & Straw Ice Cream. Thank you to all of our dedicated students, parents, teaching artists, mentors and community members who made this event possible.

Congratulations to all of our students for their hard work this year, and an extra-special shout out to the following student award winners:

Ted M. Warshafsky Scholarship Recipients
Sara A.
Silvia C.
Chelsea R.
Ashley S.


be-Art Magazine Young Photographer Award
Andrea A.


Advanced Film Students involved in Councilmember Mike Bonin's Venice Forward PSA
Sara A.
Tal D.
Leo M.
Kashmir M.
Chelsea R.
Michael V.

Venice Arts student Rocio Padilla wins Warner Bros. Reach Honorship

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Venice Arts is proud to announce that Advanced Studies student Rocio Padilla was formally awarded one of the Warner Bros. Entertainment Reach Honorships for 2015 at the end of last month. Padilla has taken several classes at Venice Arts, developing her skills in photography, film, and animation. Her most recent workshop culminated in “View Masters,” a composite short of all participating students’ animations, and is available to view on the Venice Arts' YouTube channel here.

The honorship, which is both an internship and a scholarship, is a four-year program giving recipients guaranteed internships within the company beginning the summer after they graduate high school, and ending the summer before their senior year. 

Padilla is the second student from Venice Arts to win the Reach Honorship. Genevieve Ward, a recent graduate of Reed College, was named a recipient in 2011. 

Always an active student, Padilla’s extracurriculars did not end at Venice Arts. She has served as an ambassador for Girls Inc., a non-profit aimed at empowering young women; a member of the Finance Academy; a member of the National Society of High School Scholars since her freshman year; and the president and founder of her high school’s Art Club. She hopes to pursue a career as a creative director for film, animation or television.

“If you work hard toward your dreams, it will happen,” says Padilla. “And don’t be afraid to scream when it does.”

Top Honors for Venice Arts Students at YoungArts and Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

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Angela and Arthur, two dedicated teen photographers at Venice Arts, were happy enough to have been selected as “Finalists” for the national YoungArts Awards. This meant that they were two of only eight teen photographers, and two of 170 teen artists—out of 10,000 applicants—selected as Finalists, nationwide. They received an all-expense-paid trip to Miami in January to study with master artists, meet other young artists, and exhibit their work. But the news gets better: Today Venice Arts learned that Angela was awarded the Gold Award, which gives her $10,000 toward college, among other things. Arthur won the Silver, which gives him $5,000. In addition to these impressive accolades, Angela has also been nominated for the US Presidential Scholars Program, is a semi-finalist in photography for the Music Center's 26th Annual Spotlight Program, and was nominated for the LOOKbetween program by an editor at the Aperture Books, who saw Angela’s work at YoungArts in Miami.

These awards were just a few of recent accolades that Venice Arts’ students have garnered. Three students received the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Leo is a Gold Key Winner in Photography in the Single Image category; Angela is a Gold Key Winner in Photography in the Portfolio category; and Tal is a Gold Key Film Category Winner for his Documentary Film “Right Here on Venice Pier.” In addition to these awards, two student-made films, “Religious Debate" by Venice Arts’ students Jimmy and Slater, and Tal’s “Right Here on Venice Pier” have been selected by juror Chris Strompolos to be included in the Extremely Young Film Festival. They will screen at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston on Saturday, March 1st.

These awards speak not only to the incredible talents to these students, but also to the dedication of the artists and mentors at Venice Arts, who work so hard to connect low-income kids to the opportunities that they deserve, and to support, cajole, and love them through the process!


Image: by Angela, age 17