Youth Art Contest

Over 140 California kids ages 4 to 18 entered CSPF’s inaugural Youth Art Contest, submitting artwork inspired by the theme of “California’s State Parks are Great Places for You and Me.”

With so many talented artists participating, our judges had a difficult task at hand! Participants used a variety of flat media including chalk, marker, crayon, ink and pencil. They also captured the diversity of California’s state park system- from ocean, river and lakes to historic sites to forests, mountains and deserts.

One of our goals of the Youth Art Contest is to encourage youth to seek inspiration for their art in California’s state parks. However, we also hope that their artwork will inspire you to visit state parks as well.

A special thanks to our contest partner, Subway who provided $50 gift cards to our first place winners in each age group, and to this year’s judges.

View all artwork submitted on Flickr



Youth Art Contest Winners

Ages 4 to 6

1st Place: Mayuri Kiran, Age 4

2nd Place: Amelia Logue, Age 5

3rd Place: Ivannah Tapia, Age 6

Ages 7 to 8

1st Place: Katherine Espinoza, Age 8

2nd Place: Christian Andre M. Esmenda, Age 8

3rd Place: Mia Chavira, Age 8

Ages 9 to 11

1st Place: Vivian Chan, Age 10

2nd Place: Leon Khoshnevis, Age 10

3rd Place: Cora Lawrence, Age 9

Ages 12 to 14

1st Place: Karen Jo Peralta, Age 13

2nd Place: Kaitlin I. Schmauch, Age 12

3rd Place: Emma Sumlin, Age 12

Ages 15 to 18

1st Place: Katherine Hirth, Age 17

2nd Place: Keylen Gensurousky, Age 17

3rd Place: Juliette Reynoso, Age 16



Meet the Judges

Penelope Curtis

Penelope Curtis spent 30 years working with a variety of non-profit arts organizations, including the SF Symphony, San Jose Symphony, the Pasadena Chamber Orchestra & the Bilingual Foundation for the Arts before moving to Nevada County in 1990. In the 1990s, she created the Julia Morgan Conservancy to save the remaining Julia Morgan designed buildings including the North Star House on the North Star Mine property in Grass Valley. She also was a non-profit board & management consultant. Beginning in 2000, she returned to arts management when she became the executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council. Activism for the Arts at the state level became an important part of her duties. This led her to becoming an activist for environmental causes...one important one was the California Parks Foundation. She also was very actively involved with the formation of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Since 2006, she has been actively involved with arts, culture, heritage & ecotourism, first working with the California Cultural Heritage Tourism Council and then with the National Geographic on Geotourism. Today, she is President of Sustainable Tahoe which promotes sustainable tourism through the National Geographic's 12 principles of Geotourism in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Alison Wells

Raised by a professional artist, Alison Wells grew up traveling the United States with her mother, Carol Ann Parson, selling artwork at major art shows across the nation. Finally, at the age of 23, she picked up a paintbrush and found a stroke of artistic talent of her own. Now painting whimsical expressions of life lessons and sayings, Alison loves being inspired by learning and growing. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Oklahoma and 17 years working in practices of youth and community development, Alison now proudly serves as the Youth Program Supervisor at the California State Fair.

“My favorite part of the job is coordinating the statewide youth art competition. The ability of creative expression in our young people is one of the most inspiring and moving gifts one could ever experience,” said Alison.


Bruce N. Stiny

Bruce Stiny joined the staff at the California Museum in August 2015 as Curator. He has had a long association with the California Museum, and has assisted with numerous exhibit there since 2004. Bruce N. Stiny retired from California State Parks as a Museum Curator III in 2010. During his 20 year State Parks career he held a variety of positions. Highlights of his State Parks career included, overseeing the Statewide Collection of over 1 million artifacts, being project lead on a 1.5 million dollar toy train exhibit at the California State Railroad Museum, and supervising numerous museum exhibits on California history.

Since “retiring” Bruce has had his own museum consulting and mount making business and has worked as a seasonal Park Ranger with National Parks at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Mesa Verde National Park.


Pam Avery

Pam Avery presently is the Northern Area President of the California Art Education Association (CAEA) 2014–2016. Pam received the Outstanding Secondary Visual Art Educator award in 2014 from CAEA. She holds a Master’s in Art Education and recently retired as a high school art instructor for 21 years with the Twin Rivers USD. She is an artist who works in painting and ceramics. She has shown locally and won awards, most notably in the California State Fair 2015, 2014, and 2013.

California State Parks Foundation

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