by Winston Chua
A select group of San Gabriel Valley students took part in last month’s National YoungArts Foundation’s 2014 Los Angeles program, receiving the opportunity to meet other artists from around the country, participate in interdisciplinary workshops and sit in on intensive master classes with renowned masters in their field.
Local participants included Gabrielle Luu (photography) of Arcadia, Asana Onishi (piano) of Arcadia, Mark Mekailian (voice) of Arcadia and Katelyn Vahala (piano) from Pasadena. YoungArts also selected San Marino High School’s Hillary Santoso, a winner in the Music discipline who is a pianist.
“It made me feel so proud to be selected,” said Hillary. “It gives me an idea of where I am now and will help me set goals for the future.”
YoungArts’ selection process was a rigorous one and included an extensive online application and audition requirements. Just a small percentage of applicants receive the chance to take part in YoungArts events.
“YoungArts means so much for me because it’s a way many artists my age come together and show what we do best,” said talented photographer Gabrielle. “I love how in spite of our diversity we can still appreciate each other’s work, time, effort, skill and talent.” Gabrielle prepared a portfolio of ten pieces for her application.
These young artists received the opportunity to work with masters who included choreographer Debbie Allen, composer Stephen Hartke, author Rebecca Walker, jazz scholar Dr. Ron McCurdy, artist Anna Sew Hoy and filmmakers Nancy Savona and Rich Guay.
“I am grateful to YoungArts,” said Katelyn. “Certainly this organization has already and will continue to play a role in my career as a musician, helping me to make connections nationally as I enter my college years and beyond in my professional life.”
Participants also received the opportunity to share their talents with the public through two multidisciplinary performances, a classical music concert and a visual arts exhibition at the Los Angeles Theater Center on Spring Street in Downtown L.A.
“YoungArts has given me confidence as an artist,” said Mark. “It means I’m a part of something bigger than myself, part of a nation of artists brought together by their overwhelming love and passion for their art form. The best part is being able to meet people you’ve been aching to meet your whole life. Getting to know them as people has been an even greater treasure.”