The arts promote youth empowerment, build self-confidence and provide young people an outlet of self-expression. Read on to learn the 2021 National Arts Contest winners.
For many people, art is an avenue for self-expression.
For young people across the globe, art has also been a constructive outlet to combat the mental health impacts of the past two years.
Boys & Girls Clubs have long utilized art activities to support emotional development in Club youth – one of the strongest examples being the National Arts Contest. In partnership with Old Navy, the contest is part of an initiative to promote youth empowerment through creativity, building self-confidence and implementing social-emotional learning through art.
In 2021, two young artists were selected from more than 2,500 entries to receive the “Best in Show” titles.
Alanna G., 15, of the USAG Bavaria-Grafenwoehr Youth Center, took home the award in the National Fine Arts category with her pastel self-portrait entitled “Just Me.” Alanna’s work tells a story using colors to evoke the mix of emotions she felt at the time of its creation, which happened to be during quarantine.
“Using color in my pieces helps me express my feelings to others and connect with the people viewing my art,” Alanna explained.
A photo fittingly named “The Future Is Bright” earned Ayanna G., 17, of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, the title in the ImageMakers Photography category. Her winning photograph features a fellow Club member looking ahead into a bright light while a dark background looms behind him, showcasing an optimistic outlook in tumultuous times. “I was shocked when I found out I won,” said Ayanna.