Two Crossroads Upper School visual artists and a Middle School musician received well-deserved awards from statewide and national organizations this winter.
On Dec. 3, 2020, the National YoungArts Foundation announced the winners of their prestigious annual competition recognizing high school students in visual, performing and literary arts. The list of 659 honorees—chosen from thousands of submissions through a blind adjudication process—included Crossroads senior Charlie Nevins, who earned Honorable Mention for his photography portfolio.
As a winner, Charlie will receive a cash award along with the ability to learn from professional mentors in the field. His work, judged by a panel of artists, was recognized for reflecting a unique artistic vision.
“To me, street photography is both a means of expression as well as a means of exploration. I get inspiration from walking the streets of LA with my camera, trying to capture the symbiosis of people and architecture,” says Charlie. “I’m trying to understand my home city, one photo at a time.”
The Black Lives Matter movement inspired sophomore Zoie Brogdon to create the artwork featured on the cover of Cross Sections Summer 2020 magazine, which recently won a Gold InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award and a Silver CASE District VII Award of Excellence.
“I wanted to visualize my feelings of empowerment as I saw so many people rising up to stand for what is right. I drew that Black female to represent my emotions with her and her embracing her Blackness,” explains Zoie. “We (Black people) are powerful, and as many times as you try to knock us down, we will get back up and rise higher.”
One Brilliance Awards judge commented on her work, “I love that a student’s art is used to illustrate this very powerful and important subject. The cover is striking. The artist’s portrait engages the reader eye to eye and dares them to look away from the subject at hand.”
Another student to shine among her competitors is seventh-grade trombonist Elaina Stuppler, recently named a member of the 2021 California All-State Junior High Symphonic Band.
With the support of Crossroads faculty, Elaina spent hours practicing for her virtual audition, which taught her about the challenges of recording such a loud instrument too. “I don’t think my computer microphone had ever encountered such a sound!” says Elaina.
Elaina is currently rehearsing for a virtual concert, part of the California All-State Music Education Conference, with the band later this year.
“I have been so fortunate to have Crossroads give me a phenomenal music education,” notes Elaina. “Playing music sets me free … . Creating catchy hook lines, combined with collaborating with my bandmates, is one of my favorite ways to spend my time.”