The (MVFAF), which kicks off Saturday in , by doling out "Emerging Artist" scholarship award to three recent grads earlier this year. The students received $500 for 1st place, $100 for second place and $50 in cash prizes for 3rd place.
The 1st place Emerging Artist prize was awarded to Tam High senior Riley Sykes. Australian-born Sykes, who has spent most of his life in Mill Valley, is attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), hoping to begin his journey as a professional artist, he said.
"I'm going to RISD as an undeclared major because I feel like there's a lot of art out there that I haven't had the opportunity to experience," said Sykes. "If I had to guess right now I feel that I'm heading toward graphic design, illustration or possibly animation," he said.
The 2nd place prize was awarded to fellow Tam senior and Mill Valley native Rowan Walton, who was also planning to attend RISD until recently before deciding to go to Seattle University instead to receive a broader liberal arts education.
"I visited Seattle and fell in love with it," said Walton. "Even though it's not an art school specifically the art department is great and there's plenty of art around. You don't need to go to art school to be an artist, let alone a good one," she said. Sykes is hoping to double major, with studio art as one of them.
In 2010, the Fall Arts Festival established the Michael Osborn Design award, a $250 2D design award, which was given to Tam student Lucas Waldburger earlier this year. Waldburger, who spent his sophmore year in Madrid living with his cousins, attributes his success to the opportunities he had in Europe to broaden his horizons and perspectives on art.
"Given that most exhibits are free of charge to students, I made sure to take advantage of that opportunity," said Waldburger. "Although my Spanish was pretty weak at first, my love for illustrations helped lower the language barrier. I used my artistic abilities to connect with individuals and as a way to inspire peers who shared the same interest," he said. Waldburger is attending Santa Barbara City College.
The students submitted pieces created in Tam High's AP Studio Art class, taught by Tam art educator Lynne Klein. Klein has been involved with running a booth featuring her students' art work at the festival for the past 10 years. This year the award went to all drawing and painting students, but sometimes it's awarded to photographers or pottery students, according to Klein. The work is submitted directly to the committe, said Klein.
"The committee of the MVFAF judges the work, I don’t give them any input. There's no letter of recommendation, the prize is awarded strictly on the student's artist statement and their work," said Klein.
Klein feels that the arts program at Tam provides students with a solid background and equips them to excell in a competitive art and design program like that of RISD.
"I think we have an incredibly strong program at Tam preparing those students who really want to get into the arts and get accepted to good art schools," she said. "The festival is a great way for studetns to get feedback, they can overhear people talking about their work, or even sell some of their art through side arrangements."