The Festival of Arts showcases art by gifted Orange County students from kindergarten to high school seniors — and the PIMCO Foundation rewards them.
Foundation executive director and Laguna Beach arts patron Mark Porterfield awarded gold, silver and bronze medals Sunday to 42 student artists out of the 300 juried into the 2012 Junior Art Exhibit from 4,000 entries.
"These are the select of the select," said Bernie Jones, a juror for the junior art show in which he once exhibited.
The young artists see life in a different form — they see outside the box, said Jones, a retired fine arts coordinator for the Garden Grove Unified School District and Orange County Imagination Celebration.
"And PIMCO recognizes them," Jones said.
PIMCO Foundation has funded and presented the awards for three years, but the festival has exhibited student art since 1947.
"The exhibit has become not only a showcase for young Orange County student artists, but also a vivid testimonial to the value and importance of continuing arts education in our school systems," said festival President Fred Sattler.
Twelve of the student works are featured on postcards sold in the festival shop near the entry to the grounds. Proceeds help support the development of art programs in county schools.
Award winners were selected by Porterfield and Tammie Arnold from PIMCO and festival exhibitors Molly Hutchings, herself a former student exhibitor, and Roger Folk.
"This is my favorite event except when I am butchering the names," said Porterfield, who announced the winners.
The program began with a six-minute video on the history of the exhibit.
"Now you all know more about the evolution of the Junior Art Exhibit and its importance to the community and the festival's mission of supporting arts education," said Master of Ceremonies Tom Lamb, a festival board member.
Porterfield invited the teachers to come to the podium when their students were presented with the medals. He also noted his special favorites among the entries with his comments, which are next to winner names.
Gold medals for two-dimensional works were awarded to the following:
Pre-kindergarten: Hannah Lewis
Kindergarten: Mahealani Akui
First grade: Noah Zoller
Second grade: Eva Gardner, Laguna Beach