The Northeast San Fernando Valley is an “art nest” of musicians and visual artists who have celebrated their community by sharing their talent. While Ritchie Valens, Cheech Marin and George Lopez are the most notable, others have successful careers as visual artists and muralists who’ve provided a boom of public art, along with writers and musicians.
One notable program has been the city of San Fernando’s Mariachi Apprentice program, which over the years has successfully supported hundreds of young musicians and given students a pathway to college and careers.
Another opportunity that has given a platform for high school students has been a congressional art competition facilitated for young artists by the office of Rep. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29). The winners are recognized locally and in Washington D.C. at an annual awards ceremony.
The work of the first place recipients in each participating congressional district is displayed for one year at the US Capitol.
Cárdenas announced this year’s winner – Daniela Vigil, a graduating senior at Mission Continuation High School — as the winner of this year’s Congressional Art Competition.
“Every year San Fernando Valley students submit works of art that are as inspiring as they are impressive,” Cárdenas said. “I’d like to congratulate our winner of this year’s Congressional Art Competition, Daniela Vigil, for her piece ‘In Youth We Trust.’
“Her artwork is already hanging in the halls of Congress and inspiring countless visitors from across the country.”
Vigil’s painting conveys the innocence of childhood as well as the struggles Latina girls face in their households. Latinas are often expected to mature quickly and take on roles that cause them to miss out on their childhoods.
The teddy bear in the painting represents innocence, and the way the subject is holding the teddy bear represents the responsibilities she now holds.
As the winner in California’s 29th Congressional District, Vigil visited Washington, D.C. to see her artwork displayed in the Capitol and received $1,000.
Other winners included graduating ArTES High senior Sarahi Lopez (second) for her painting, “Coalesce”; Van Nuys High junior Beverly Regino (third) for her painting. “Is it Me? This is Me”; graduating Arleta High senior Joceline Tejeda (fourth) for her drawing, “Recollection”; and graduating Daniel Pearl Magnet senior Geraldine Suniga (fifth) for her painting, “A Bouquet of Me.”
“Each work of art submitted to the competition was a window into the talent, thoughtfulness and creativity of the young artists in our community,” Cárdenas said. “I appreciate every student who participated this year – thank you for sharing your unique form of self-expression with us. The arts are a vital part of a well-rounded education, and I hope this competition reminds students, teachers and parents of the importance of investing in the arts.”
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, hundreds of thousands of high school students have participated in the nationwide competition.