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The Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (PCAC) conducted a virtual Zoom competition, “Youth Excellence in Arts Awards” in Music and Literary Arts, on Nov. 6 and 8.

The Visual Arts competition was conducted on Nov. 7. Prior to the judging, student artists submitted three pieces of their art for adjudication. The judges viewed the submitted work, without student comments.

Pleasanton students attending Amador and Foothill High Schools demonstrated their incredible talents and won praise from the expert judges. A well-defined rubric scoring model was used for all contestants.

The winners of the Max Bigges Award in Literary Arts were Milla Zuniga, who placed first was awarded $750; Alison Gable, who placed second and was awarded $500; and Jocelyn Zhu, who placed thrid and was awarded $300. The winners of the Phyllis Wentworth Awards in Visual Arts were Jocelyn Tao, who placed first and was awarded $750; April Gong, who placed second and was awarded $500; and Jiahua (Will) Liang, who placed third and was awarded $300. The winners of the Rene and Gordon Smith Awards in Music were Haoran (Tony) Li, who placed first and was awarded $750; Hana Lee, who placed second and was awarded $500; Mattias Bengtsson, who placed third and was awarded $300.

“We love to champion the talent, discipline, and creativity of Pleasanton's young artists,” said Teri Dunne, PCAC event chair. “Some of their performances and works actually sparkled.”

Not only had the contest been delayed since March, but the musicians and literary performers were asked to perform on-line from their homes, while the judges were miles away. For the literary submission, Jim Ott from Las Positas College and Anita Bergh, emeritus from the Fremont School District, judged, and for the music competition, Bob Williams, conductor of the Pleasanton Community Concert Band, and Lee Carpenter from Livermore adjudicated.

Visual Arts experts, Nancy Scotto and Anne Giancola evaluated the actual visual art pieces.

All awards were from endowments received by PCAC over the years. After three days of competition, PCAC was able to once again offer cash awards to talented students and continue our mission to encourage, support and promote the Arts in schools and the Pleasanton community.