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'Not From Around Here': Napa Valley Museum announces student winners

'Not From Around Here': Napa Valley Museum announces student winners

  • Updated

The Napa Valley Museum Yountville has announced the winners of its fourth annual student-curated exhibition: “Not From Around Here.”

The exhibition showcases the work of 28 student artists from Vintage High School, Justin-Siena High School, The Oxbow School, Saint Helena High School, Marin Catholic High School, and Novato High/Marin School of the Arts, in a diverse and thought-provoking display with the goal of connecting the community to young local artists.

Winners include Best of Show winner Isabella Cavallero of Novato High/Marin School of the Arts for her photograph: “The Originals”.

  • First place, Justice Faustina of Justin- Siena High with “Man Made Natural Disaster”
  • Second place Artemisio Romero y Carver of The Oxbow School, with “Our Lady.

More than 150 virtual visitors voted for the People’s Choice Award Winner, “Noir Angel” by Jenna Yandel of Marin Catholic High School.

Other winning artists were Jade Hawkinson, Julia Maushardt, Charmaine Griffin, Leilani Cropper, Pella Anderson and Zoé Murphy.

The exhibition, with images and statements by the artists, is available for viewing online now on the museum’s website

The students said the theme “Not From Around Here” inspired them to create deeply personal works. Romero y Carver wrote, “I am not from around here, and thus the phrase ‘Not From Around Here’ naturally reminds me of my own sense of cultural isolation. I am a member of the Chicano peoples that refer to themselves as Norteno, meaning from the mountains of Northern New Mexico. I have recently found myself in Napa, California, which to me feels like a place far removed from all that I have known. Here the sky is a similar blue, but the horizon is never fully visible and the ground is always green with grass. I must also recognize that I am in a truly different cultural landscape, one without the red chile I know or even some of the words I casually use.”

“Through my art, especially in the painting ‘Our Lady,’ I have sought to create a frame by which I can understand my culture, my people, and by extension myself. As I now attend school in Napa, in a world I am new to, it has only been in the process of art-making that I begin to forget that I’m not from around here.”

In describing her People’s Choice winning photograph, “Noir Angel,” Jenna Yandle wrote that the theme “means a chance to show and celebrate the soul of a human being in a way that is different than just a simple interaction of meeting someone. We move through interactions every day and for one day, to make one person feel beautiful and showcased in a way that is different and inspiring is what my art is all about. I want to specialize in portrait photography to be able to make someone feel beautiful in their own skin and to make others who view my art feel emotion. ‘Not From Around Here’ brings together all kinds of differences from people, to pictures, to mediums of art in a way that exhibits the beautiful complexity of humans, activities, and our lives.”

Best of Show winner Isabella Cavallero finds the common humanity in her subjects, including two colorful members of the biker community:

“The statement ‘Not From Around Here’ reflects the meaning of finding a sense of belonging even when obstacles stand in the way. This could be in the community in which you live, with the people you surround yourself with, or society’s views in general. It can also reflect the idea that individuals might not be fully accepted by their greater communities. One of the communities that experiences a high level of rejection, or the feeling of not being accepted, is the biker community.”

“The unfortunate thing about this is that most bikers are amongst the kindest people you will ever meet. In my lifetime I have witnessed how generous the biker community has been on many occasions, including volunteering during times of fire relief, holding fundraisers for charities, and group rides for fallen members. They would give complete strangers the shirt off their back and often support their community, despite being judged for their lifestyle. What I want people to understand about my artwork is that it is important to embrace all walks of life and attempt to understand that some may want to live their lives differently than others. Without the individuality in the community, we wouldn’t be able to create the world in which we live.”

Full versions of the artist’s statements are on the website at

The exhibit was evaluated by a panel of judges, all experts in art education, including:

— Connie Schleien retired art educator, past National Art Educator Association vice president, board member of Sonoma Valley Museum and Sonoma Cultural and Fine Arts commissioner;

— Jeanne Hoel, senior education manager for School and Teacher Programs at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles;

— Erik Shearer, professor of art at Napa Valley College.

Winners received cash prizes, plaques, ribbons, certificates and a Napa Valley Museum membership.

The museum and artists remain hopeful that new exhibition dates may be found once the museum reopens, to give these students a chance to have their work presented in a museum gallery setting, said Laura Rafaty, executive director. People who wish to support the museum’s efforts to reopen its galleries and arts education programs, and to help the student show continue this year and in future years, are encouraged to donate on the museum’s website at

The exhibition was presented in partnership with Justin-Siena Visual Arts, and made possible by a grant from Arts Council Napa Valley, the Napa County Board of Supervisors, Napa Valley Community Projects, and by the members and supporters of the Napa Valley Museum Yountville. The exhibit was organized by the museum’s team including exhibitions and programs manager Ariel Loraine and education coordinator Joel Kurtz, working with project leader Monica Jacobson and Justin-Siena Visual Arts.

Also, currently on exhibition at the museum is a 3D virtual tour of “Lucy Liu: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others,” which is a fundraiser for the museum’s reopening. View it on the museum’s website.

Watch now: ‘Not From Around Here’

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