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Graciela Tafoya Earns Mariposa Arts Council’s Annual Student Award

MARIPOSA — The Mariposa County Arts Council has announced that Graciela “Gracie” Tafoya is the recipient of the organization’s annual High School Student Award.

The $500 award is given annually to one area graduating senior who has demonstrated “a commitment to the arts and the community of Mariposa over the span of their high school career,” said a press release issued by the organization on Monday.

“For the past four years Gracie has worked as an intern for the Mariposa County Arts Council working specifically on projects related to program coordination and marketing/graphic design,” the release stated. “And because she is a talented visual artist, we have come to trust her with the creation of digital and print collateral for our programs and the organization. Within the last year she spearheaded the redesign of our social media platforms and the development of physical wayfinding elements.”

“In addition to developing creative communication material for us, she has been deeply involved in our arts education initiatives and works directly with many of our artists, where her brilliant interpersonal skills and artistic knowledge have been heavily utilized.”

Additionally, in 2019/2020, Gracie served as the student representative in a Strategic Art Planning effort led by Mariposa County Office of Education.

“Gracie’s involvement in this process was substantial with her insights helping to guide the process and adding important content to the document,” the release also stated. “Through this planning effort Gracie demonstrated a keen aptitude for sustainable policy building and a strong thoughtful voice and confident presence within a group of well seasoned educators and administrators.”

“Gracie’s dedication to the visual arts is apparent to all who know her – she is never without her camera, pencils and a sketchbook in hand. She is an active member of the Art Club at the High School, she enrolls in all workshops and classes both inside and outside of school, and by seeking out an internship with the Arts Council she chose to surround herself with the art community here in Mariposa.”

Gracie was accepted to and attended the California State Summer School for the Arts at Cal Arts in 2017, early in her high school career. She has worked hard to broaden her world and experience. And she’s successfully built a creative community and established an artistic network while living in a small rural town, which is notable and impressive.

Going forward, Gracie has been accepted into Cal Poly for Art and Design, Sacramento State for Photography, and the School of Art Institute of Chicago with several art scholarships.

“Gracie is a serious artist and a scholar with a deep respect for community. She’s committed to her education and art and, while she has innate creative talent, she is also motivated, determined, persistent, a self-starter, possesses a growth mindset and is willing to put in the hours and do the work. We are pleased to recognize all her work with this award and very excited to see where she goes!”said Cara Goger, Arts Council executive director.

The Mariposa County Arts Council is an incorporated, not-for-profit organization created to promote and support all forms of the cultural arts, for all ages, throughout Mariposa County. The organization is supported in part by the County of Mariposa, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the California Arts Council, a state agency.

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