Tacoma Sister Cities Announces Art Winners

Given the talent and thoughtfulness of the entries, Tacoma Sister Cities is very proud of this year’s Young Artists and Authors Showcase (YAAS) competition. So did the participating students. It’s nothing short of amazing how adept these young people are in their chosen medium and how they communicate what’s on their mind as they grow into our next generation of leaders in a world adults are creating for them today.

This year’s theme was ‘Generation Rescue: Sustainable Water for All’. Each participant was given the task of creating an expression on this theme in one of six categories: Classical Art, Digital Art, Photography, Authors, Poets and Musicians.

Our city‘s local competition included young people from two Tacoma sister cities—11 entries from Fuzhou, China, seven from Boca del Rio, Mexico—and 12 from Tacoma students. While the call for art reached our sister cities around the world, it did not compete with the work of Tacoma students. Each city chooses its own winners, who then move on Sister Cities International YAAS competition.

Of the 12 entries received by Tacoma Sister Cities from local high school students from seven schools, 10 were selected as first prize ($200), second prize ($100) and honorable mention winners.

The project aims to encourage students from around the world to engage in world issues, particularly those that promote a more unified, secure and peaceful world, and to understand how the arts can influence and transform cultural boundaries.

This year’s water theme provided students with a wealth of perspectives to explore the need for clean water to sustain life on earth. Tacoma Sister Cities YAAS organizer Jill Shea spoke about this during the March 22 virtual YAAS awards ceremony, which also marked World Water Day, which was created by the United Nations 29 years ago when the UN made water a key focus of its agenda made.

“There is nothing more important to life on earth than water. People need clean water to drink, bathe, cook and grow their food,” they said, struggling to access water they need for good sanitation and the necessary hygiene to prevent the spread of disease. ”

Clare Petrich, President of Tacoma Sister Cities, opened the awards ceremony with thoughts and prayers for our sister city, Brovary, Ukraine. She then read a poem about the war by Brovary Poet Laureate Marina Polyakovasent to Tacoma Poet Laureate Lydia Valentine. Read Polyakova’s poem at TacomaWeekly.com.

Following Petrich’s welcome, the awards ceremony’s keynote speaker was Rochelle Gandour-Rood of Tacoma Public Utilities, where she focuses on community engagement and conservation. She explained that Tacoma Water is TPU’s drinking water division, supplying the water that comes out of every faucet in the city of Tacoma as well as some nearby communities.

“It’s my job to be in our communities and share the history of our water and discuss how we can honor our precious resource by using only what we need and no more,” Rood said, turning then contact the YAAS artists directly. “I know from these artworks that you all already celebrate water and know that water is life. I suspect that young people who are so obviously passionate about water are also caring, using water wisely and sharing it well.”

Then it was time to announce the Tacoma winners.

Classic Art: First Prize to Jayla Howard, Lincoln High School, for “Women of the Lake”; Second Prize to Charlotte Southworth, Stadium High School, for “South Beach”; and Honorable Mention to Cynthia Chin, Tacoma Science and Math Institute (SAMi), for “Wave Fall?”

Digital art: First prize at Victoria Street, Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) for “Water: The Source of Everyday Life”.

Photography: First Prize to Benjamin Kikillus, Meeker Middle School, for “Waterworks at Sunset”; Second Prize to Holly Kuhlman, Life Christian Academy, for “Rainier”; and Honorable Mention to Avery Silos, Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA), for “How Do We Save Libby the Sea Otter?”

Written word: First Prize to Aiysha Ali, Foss High School, for “From a Fish’s Perspective”; Second prize to Nadyia Johnson, Tacoma Online, for “When the Water Cries”.

Original music: First prize to George Alexander, Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA), for “Remote”.

“At Sister Cities, we are very pleased and proud to offer students from Tacoma and our sister cities this opportunity to exhibit their art,” said Petrich Places around the World are Responding to Water Sustainability.

“Tacoma Sister Cities’ mission is to bring peace to the world through our activities, one person, one community at a time. Building on the knowledge of other cultures is what Sister Cities is about and how we can bring peace to one another. ”

Visit sistercities.org to learn more about their work, including Wu Ming-Yi’s April Book Club selection The Stolen Bicycle. Focusing on our twin city of Taichung, Taiwan, Wu’s novel is both a historical testimony and an intimate meditation on memory, family and home. For more information, visit online or meet the club at King’s on April 25 at 6:30 p.m Books, 218 St. Helen’s Ave.


From a fish’s point of view

By Aiysha Ali

Foss High School, Written Word First Prize

IIt was a terrible day, the day the water was sick.

I fell fast asleep, the water rushing around me.

My school was sound asleep, listless as ever, when I awoke to the sound of echoing sound waves deep in my ears.

The sun was up and it was time to go.

I let the water guide me as I walked to our feeding ground.

I noticed that something is wrong. I could feel it in my fins.

My mom was swimming for me when I heard that deafening sound of the water above me, like glass breaking into a thousand little pieces.

A huge pile of smelly and disgusting human garbage crashed onto our beautiful reef. It was terrible!

My mom rallied the rest of our school and I felt an abyss of sadness as we fled the reef. I watched in horror as other schools of fish, unable to escape, inhaled the toxic wastes and oils from the garbage and floated belly up to the surface.

Just a few days later we heard the news that our reef had disappeared and thousands of our own kind had died. All over the world fish were dying and the water was sick. We have even heard of people who could not purify our water and that they died because they drank water in streams and rivers from our freshwater friends.

I was so devastated when I heard this news.

It’s a shame it’s been like this for a long time.

I turn now to my young readers.

please oh please Don’t let these things happen to my ocean, your ocean. There are many ways we can help save our oceans and make water sustainable for all of us.

Start cleaning up your community. Did you know that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean alone? Thousands of these can be seen on the surface, while billions of microfibers pollute the deep sea. Participate in community, local and even national events dedicated to cleaning up our oceans.

Recycle plastic waste! This will help and the more people recycle, the less plastic ends up in our oceans. Ask how you can help save the oceans! Stop the destruction of natural habitats and the death of marine life.

You can do this. We can do this. Together!


Through Nadia Johnson

Tacoma Online, Written Word Second Prize

I was beautiful once My bodies were light blue, full of cleanliness, untouched by contamination. Mother Nature gave me a purpose to provide. I am all water Dark matter invaded my home, oil killing and inundating the creatures that lived within me. I wonder if these people sometimes think I’m a trash can. I wonder if these people know they bite the hands that feed them. I give them oxygen; I give them food; On sunny days I let them play in my waters. I wonder how long it will be before they hear my screams. I was beautiful once Greenhouse gases suffocate me; choke the life out of me; disable me. I struggle and try to assert myself, but I always ask myself, “Did these people know I was beautiful once?” I pouted and sobbed at the newborns who will grow up not knowing me for what I originally was, but as the polluted dead waters. Why do these people make me ugly? People dress me in plastic and trash. Don’t they know? I’m supposed to be beautiful, don’t they know that they breathe me, don’t they know that all rivers and lakes, oceans and ponds eventually flow back into them, Mother Nature’s atmosphere collects the water of the earth, the same water that she drink. Do you know that half the oxygen you breathe comes from me? Why don’t they take care of me, their provider? Burning fossil fuels keeps me from giving you all the oxygen, keeps me from giving you water Did you know I was beautiful once?

George Alexander, Tacoma School of the Arts, First Prize for Original Music, “Remote”

Victoria Street, Tacoma School of the Arts, First Prize in Digital Art, “Water: The Source of Everyday Life”

Holly Kuhlman, Life Christian Academy, Second Prize in Photography, “Rainier”

Benjamin Kikillus, Meeker Middle School, First Prize for Photography, “Waterworks at Sunset”

Charlotte Southworth, Stadium High School, Classic Art Second Prize, “South Beach”

Cynthis Chin, Tacoma Science and Math Institute, Honorable Mention in Classic Art, “Wave Fall?”

Jayla Howard, Lincoln High School, First Prize in Classical Art, “Women of the Lake”

Avery Silos, Tacoma School of the Arts, Honorable Mention in Photography, “How Do We Save Libby the Sea Otter?”

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