Young Artists Expo: Santa Monica High School senior Emmaline Thorpe holds her piece “Blue Board,” one of the works that awarded her Young Artist of the Year in the 2023 California Young Artist Expo Contest. Courtesy Photo

Three Samohi artists have achieved artistic greatness in an annual statewide competition.

Samohi senior Emmaline Thorpe, senior Victoria Davis and sophomore Shana Lindsey were selected as winners in the 2023 California Young Artist Expo Contest. Their work now resides at the expo’s exhibit at the intersection of the 3rd Street Promenade and Arizona Avenue, along with over 100 pieces of art from other finalists.

Thorpe was awarded as the Young Artist of the Year, receiving a $200 cash prize contributed by former Santa Monica Mayor Nat Trives. Thorpe entered art pieces into several of the contest’s categories, including “Climate Change & Sustainability,” “Adapting to a New Normal,” and “My Identity & Self Expression.”

The 2023 expo was carried out by California Sister Cities, with cooperation of Sister Cities International Southern and Northern California Chapters, along with the Santa Monica Sister City Association. This is the second year the Santa Monica association has hosted the post-expo exhibit on the Promenade.

“I was flabbergasted (by the Samohi entries) because when we put it out, we didn’t know who was going to respond to it,” said Santa Monica Sister City Association President Jeffrey Jarow. “But we got all the people in the school district (to support it) … so all of a sudden, I was looking at all these pictures … and then (they) ended up winning a lot of awards.”

A “sister city” relationship is a long-term partnership between communities in different countries, with the 2023 expo strengthening that bond with international young artists. The expo included entries from a large group of colleges in Japan, including visual arts and design colleges from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. The entries were organized under the alliance of Akademia 21st Century, which aided in the printing of the artwork for the Promenade exhibit.

Santa Monica Sister Cities Organization also has experience with Japanese relations, hosting a high school student ambassador exchange program with Fujinomiya, Japan. The city dedicated a park to Santa Monica, using Santa Monica Harbor signage like its United States counterpart.

“Sometimes in the past we’ve had … 15 to 20 kids going to these different cities,” Jarow said. “And then they all come back here for a two or three day stopover before they exchange again. We’ve thrown a big barbecue and there’s song and dance … it’s great watching the kids talk to each other in different languages.”

Jarow says that the exhibit will stay up at the Promenade for another month before becoming a “traveling show” in places like Orange County.

Thomas Leffler has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Penn State University and has been in the industry since 2015. Prior to working at SMDP, he was a writer for AccuWeather and managed...