Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council faced the challenges of social distancing while evaluating this year's 51 participants vying for its annual Youth Excellence in Arts, known as YEA!
Young artists completed in three categories: literary, which included both poetry and short story writing; visual arts, which allowed for a broad range of media; and music, which drew a large number of instrumental performers and some singers.
"We love to champion the talent, discipline and creativity of Pleasanton's young artists," event chairwoman Teri Dunne said. "Some of their performances and works actually sparkled."
The contest had been delayed since March, and the musicians and literary performers were asked to perform online from their homes. The judges, watching from separate venues, included Las Positas College professor Jim Ott and Anita Bergh, emeritus from the Fremont Unified School District, judging the literary submissions; and Bob Williams, conductor of Pleasanton Community Concert Band, and Lee Carpenter from Livermore for the music competition. Board member Les Duman acted as Zoom host for the music competition.
Artists Nancy Scotto and Anne Giancola evaluated the 72 visual art pieces, which were displayed in the home of Dunne and curated by PCAC board member Jan Coleman-Knight and president Kelly Cousins.
After three days of competition the results were announced as follows:
First place, Dr. Max William Biggs Award: Milla Zuniga of Amador Valley High for her short story entitled "Kaleidoscope Silence."
Second place: Allison Gable of Amador for her story, "Edge of the Universe."
Third place: Jocelyn Zhu of Amador for "All She Did Is Give."
First place, Rene and Gordon Smith Award: Haoran (Tony) Li from Amador on cello.
Second place: Hannah Lee from Foothill High on piano.
Third place: Mattia Bengtsson from Amador on French horn.
First place, Phyllis and William Wentworth Award: Jocelyn Tao from Foothill for acrylic painting.
Second place: April Gong from Amador for drawing.
Third place: Jiahua (Will) Liang from Foothill for painting and mixed media.
PCAC, an all-volunteer nonprofit group, was able to award the following cash prizes from endowments received: First place, $750; second place, $500; and third place, $300, in each of the three categories.