YOSEMITE – The Ansel Adams Gallery In Yosemite National Park was packed with students, parents and teachers on Saturday, Nov. 16, as awards were presented to the winners of the 3rd annual Gateway Expressions Art and Poetry Contest.
Two walls in the gallery were lined with the artwork, poetry and photography of students from the gateway communities of Yosemite, and the kids were thrilled to have their work displayed in such an iconic place.
While the parents snapped photos of the display and kids pointed out their creations, Shauna Potocky, Branch Chief of Education for Yosemite National Park, and her team prepared for the awards.
“We realized that some youth who live right near the park weren’t getting into the park,” said Potocky. “We worked through the school districts to encourage our youth to make a deep connection with Yosemite.”
So Potocky created the Gateway Expressions Art and Poetry Project, a contest and exhibit designed to celebrate the arts, foster inspiration, and encourage exploration of the park through partnerships with local organizations. Last year, she received The Freeman Tilden Award, “an annual award recognizing outstanding contributions to the public through interpretation by a National Park Service employee. The award was created in 1982 to stimulate and reward creative work by National Park Service employees that results in positive impacts upon the visiting public,” says the NPS website.
The communities of Oakhurst, Mariposa, Groveland, and Lee Vining were invited to have their students submit their work. It was then set up for viewing, and staff from Delaware North, the Yosemite Conservancy, Nature Bridge, YNP, the Ansel Adams Gallery, Park Volunteers and community members gathered for a briefing on the process, and submitted their votes in a ballot box.
“The goal was to get lots of judges, and we had well over 40 participate this year,” said Potocky. “It took a tremendous team of people to make this happen, and we were all thrilled to see the youth’s vision of Yosemite.”
Over 150 entries were submitted this year, and Potocky said the judging was a tough task.
“All the work was absolutely stunning,” she said. “We honor each and every piece, whether it is in the final collection or not.”
Before the awards were presented, Potocky announced that on the heels of the success of the Gateways Expressions event, they would be launching a new program – a Youth in Yosemite film contest.
The contest will be held in conjunction with the Range of Light film festival in the spring, and students will be asked to submit short films, a maximum of 15 minutes.
With all the kids waiting anxiously in the gallery, Potocky, along with Sharon Miyaco, Chris Raines, Debbie Martin and Arial Hickman then presented the awards to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, along with many Honorable Mentions.
Winners of the 2013 Gateway Expressions Art and Poetry Contest – (click photos to enlarge)
1st Place Carson Burt Rainbow After the Storm
2nd Place Cameron Foster Yosemite Falls Bear
3rd Place Hank Stark The Park Ranger
Honorable Mention Annalea Fulce Yosemite Falls
Honorable Mention Bailee Tougas I Saved a Blue Jay
Honorable Mention Jennifer Godwin (untitled)
Honorable Mention Abby Rabon The Rainbow is So Pretty, I Love It
Honorable Mention Ryder Lyle The Pretty Part of Yosemite
Honorable Mention Emma Cornforth Churchbowl Cave
1st Place David Ivey Yosemite’s Half Dome
2nd Place Makaya Sage Mackie The Blue Water Fall
3rd Place Lusa Andrews The Forest
Honorable Mention Shelsy Marquez The Wavy Waterfall
Honorable Mention Scarlett Kerr Half Dome in Spring Time
Honorable Mention Lola Ward The Day
Honorable Mention Julie Cofer The Blue Jay
Honorable Mention Chloe Hughes Sunset
Honorable Mention Skadi Lyle Bear Walk
1st Place Lasen Andrews River Leaves
2nd Place Clara Devlin Bridalveil Falls Bear
3rd Place Nathan Kunz Mountain Lion
Honorable Mention Joshua Garcellano Half Dome
Honorable Mention Alex Kunz Bear in the Meadow
Honorable Mention Olivia Brown Baby Woodpecker Poking Out of a Sequoia
Honorable Mention Angel Cheves Woodpecker
Honorable Mention Kaitlyn Fisher Blaze of the Rim Fire
Honorable Mention Camille Fisher Big Oak of Yosemite
1st Place Jakob McFarland Secret Path
2nd Place Derrick Ivey Blazing Blue
3rd Place Nolan Lyle Ringtail Rock
Honorable Mention Kiersten Lott Dogwood Tree of Yosemite
Honorable Mention Adam Moua Bright of the Dark
Honorable Mention Madysin Miller Before and After the Fire
Honorable Mention Brianna Rieux Keep Yosemite Clean
1st Place Katie Thompson Bridalveil Creek
2nd Place Emma Wooding Half Dome at Night
3rd Place Darion Hay The Beauty of a Singularity
Honorable Mention Pedro Villa John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt
Honorable Mention Yahn Biehl The Fall in Yosemite Park
Honorable Mention Nathan Vereschagin How Nathan Sees Yosemite
Honorable Mention Julia Wooding Slack Living in Yosemite
Honorable Mention Samantha Souza Yosemite Falls
Honorable Mention Christopher Webber Sunset on El Capitan
Honorable Mention Ricky Skelton Gateway to Yosemite
1st Place Ben Raines Path Through the Forest
1st Place Jack Kari Fleeting Light
1st Place Adam Scott A Peaceful Yosemite Autumn
2nd Place Hannah Scott Life Under the Giants
1st Place Gonzolo Tafoya Jr. Yosemite National Park
2nd Place Nayo Rhoan Yosemite is for Native Americans
1st Place Minarets High School
Art 2 Class Coyote Glance
2nd Place Brianna Rieux, Gracie Tafoya Half Dome
Ansel Adams Award Ben Raines Path Through the Forest
Yosemite Award Jakob McFarland Secret Path
Yosemite Winter Club Award Gonzolo Tafoya Jr. Yosemite National Park (art), Yosemite National Park (poetry)
Yosemite Grant Award Hannah Scott Life Under the Giants