By ELISE RIO
University High School (UHS) art student Connie Chang (Sr.) recently received a prestigious YoungArts award. Since 1981, the National YoungArts Foundation has identified and honored the next generation of artists in the literary, visual and performing arts departments. In addition to receiving awards, the young artists, who must be between 15 and 18 years old, may also receive scholarships. YoungArts is a competitive program with notable alumni, including nationally renowned multimedia artist Doug Aitken and recording artist Nicki Minaj. Alumni have become leading professionals in their respective art fields and include Emmy and Tony award nominees as well as Grammy and Oscar winners.
Chang explained that she heard about YoungArts when some of her peers pursuing the arts entered the contest. Because she already had an art portfolio started for her college applications, she decided to enter the contest as well. Chang’s submission to YoungArts consisted of a portfolio of ten pieces and a written statement. One of her works is a mixed media work called Maps Around You and Me. Chang created this piece with gouache, markers, colored pencils and gesso, which is a mixture of chalk, pigment and gypsum, on cardboard and canvas. Maps Around You and Me, along with another piece in her series called Islands, is being exhibited at the Los Angeles Theater Center. In addition to receiving a monetary award, Chang attended the 2015 YoungArts LA event from February 17-22, during which she took master classes, attended studio visits and exhibited her work. Chang said about her experience, “YoungArts LA was great! I met a lot of new friends who share the same interest and dedication in the arts. Many of them are local, so it’s good to know that I belong to this community of young artists in Southern California.”
Chang expressed that she has loved drawing since she was a kid and is glad that she has continued to pursue her passion. She said, “I love making things. These days I’m much more illustrative in style and open to experimentation. Recently, my work has been influenced by artists like Philip Guston, Marlene Dumas and Maira Kalman. The art community at Uni is such a welcoming, encouraging place, and I am so grateful for my peers and teachers here.”