2022 Young Artist Awards
In 2019 and 2020, El Dorado County lost four beloved members of its community: Richard H. Bush, Lanny Langston, Joey Cattone, and Jane Van Camp. In their memory, and as a way of celebrating their impact and their legacies, Arts and Culture El Dorado created the Young Artist Awards, which will honor juniors and seniors at El Dorado County high schools in four categories: Music, Theatre, Visual Art, and Nature-inspired Art. The recipients of these awards also receive $500.
The Young Artist Awards are not necessarily intended to reward artistic achievements; rather, they are meant to recognize the inspiring potential and exceptional promise of budding young artists in El Dorado County. To this end, Arts and Culture El Dorado solicited nominations directly from teachers. Being acquainted not just with the students’ existing work, but also with their character, aspirations, and abilities, teachers were well-positioned to assess and articulate the worthiness of the students they nominated. The families of our four bright lights then acted as the judges for each award, selecting one student to receive the award—or they would have, if not for a surprise during the selection process: the Bush family and the Cattone family selected not one but two students for their prize, and generously provided the funds to honor the additional recipient.
To celebrate the inaugural year of this program, a reception for the families, students, and nominating teachers was held at Arts and Culture El Dorado’s Confidence Firehouse Gallery on Friday, April 22.
Peter Wolfe, Lanny Langston’s longtime friend and Imagination Theatre co-founder, represented the Langston family at the reception, and awarded the 2022 Lanny Langston Award for Theatre to Kelsi Havercroft, a senior at Union Mine. Kelsi, nominated by Drama teacher Heather Freer, was the 2022 El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud champion, the assistant director of Grease at Imagination Theatre, and the lead actor in several high school productions.
Dan Cattone awarded the 2022 Joey Cattone Award for Visual Art to Dae Larkin, a senior at Oak Ridge High School, and Liv Haugrud, a senior at Ponderosa High School. Dae, nominated by Art teacher Michelle Kite, explores themes of propaganda in her art and aspires to be an animator, helping young people deal with stress through interactive art. Liv, nominated by Art teacher Jennifer Schrock, has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities, passion, and creativity over the four years she has studied Studio Art at Ponderosa.
Paul and Maggie Bush, joined by Leslie Bush, awarded the 2022 Richard H. Bush Award for Music to Alissa Thuesen, a senior at Ponderosa, and Brooke Morgan, a junior at Ponderosa. Alissa, nominated by Music teacher Taylor Sabado, is a standout trumpet player who plans to become a music educator. Brooke, also nominated by Taylor Sabado, was the drum major of Ponderosa’s marching band and plans to continue pursuing music in college.
The 2022 Jane Van Camp Award for Nature-inspired Art was awarded to Chloe Gautschi, a senior at El Dorado. Chloe, nominated by Art teacher Brigid Bourque, is a nature lover and gifted sculptor, whose animal-themed pottery beautifully reflected the spirit of the Jane Van Camp Award. In a statement, Jamie Van Camp congratulated Chloe and said, “Your work inspired us… You are truly the perfect fit for this award.”
An annual program, the Young Artist Awards will continue to celebrate the great promise of younger generations and honor the lives and legacies of the “bright lights” who came before them.