Student artists honored at the annual Junior Art Awards at the Festival of Arts


On Sunday August 15, the Laguna Beach Arts Festival celebrated the talent and hard work of Orange County students at the annual Junior Art Awards. The 2021 Junior Art Show is sponsored in part by California First Leasing Corporation, Mark Porterfield of Laguna Beach, and a grant from the FOA Foundation.

During the ceremony, the winners of the 2021 Junior Art Exhibition were recognized, honored and presented with gold, silver and bronze medallions and certificates. A jury made up of Mark Porterfield, residents of Laguna Beach, Emma Paddon for California First Leasing Corporation and Kirsten Whalen of the FOA Foundation.

“The jury must have been extremely difficult given the quality of the artwork,” Festival of Arts president David Perry said in his welcoming speech. “We celebrate the talents of these students and the teachers and parents who support them. Remember that all of these works were created in 2020 during the pandemic with much of the instructions via Zoom or activities prepared by the parents… Really quite remarkable!

California First National Bank Senior Vice President Darren Higuchi and FOA Foundation Board Member Kirsten Whalen helped hand out the awards in front of friends, family and faculty at art who supported and congratulated the recipients of the Junior Art Awards.

Since its inception in 1947, the junior art exhibition has been considered one of the highlights of the summer exhibition. Selected by art authorities from thousands of applications representing schools in Orange County, the works of more than 200 students (PK-12) are exhibited in the Junior Art Gallery. The exhibition has become not only a showcase for the new generations of young Orange County student artists, but also a living testament to the value and importance of continuing arts education in our school systems.

The Sunday award winners’ imagery and creativity took on varied and unique forms, representing two-dimensional art, three-dimensional art, digital and graphic design, and photography. After visiting the Junior Art Gallery, it was obvious that there were many talented and up-and-coming artists in Orange County.

The 2021 Junior Art Show is presented by the Festival of Arts and funded in part by the California First Leasing Corporation, Mark Porterfield of Laguna Beach, and a grant from the FOA Foundation. The exhibit is produced in partnership with Imagination Celebration, Arts OC and the OC Department of Education. The Festival des Arts is a non-profit organization. Profits support the arts and arts education in and around Laguna.

The arts festival is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd, (800) 487-3378. For a full list of events and ticket information, visit


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