The National YoungArts Foundation awarded Chronicle Photography Editor Caitlin Chung ’20 and Chiemeka Offor ’21 the Art of Anthropologie YoungArts Award on May 26. The nonprofit organization also named Chung a 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholar on May 21.
The YoungArts Foundation offers emerging teen artists opportunities for creative growth through its annual competition, according to the organization’s website. Visual Arts Department Head Joe Medina said that six visual arts students from the school were recognized by YoungArts this year. Of the six, four were named finalists and participated in YoungArts Week in Miami.
YoungArts finalists in photography receive Art of Anthropologie Award
Established through a joint partnership between the National YoungArts Foundation and Anthropologie, a clothing store chain, the Art of Anthropologie YoungArts Award honors young female artists and aims to inspire them to choose a career in the arts, according to an email sent by YoungArts on May 26.
Offor said the portfolio she submitted allowed her to learn more about herself as a person of color within her community.
“This portfolio was about navigating how I can further empower myself and other women of color in my community and in the media trying to confront the lack of representation we have had in the past and [how I can] give us more opportunities to be seen and heard in the future,” Offor said.
Chung advocates for Korean-American representation through photography
Chung submitted a four-year photography project that focused on her Korean-American identity and said that the awards she has received translate to greater recognition for the Asian-American community in photography.
“Winning these awards, these public platforms, meant that it wasn’t just that I was seeing an Asian-American face portraying the art of photography, but it was my face that was up there, which made me feel really proud of paving my own way in the path that I thought was never going to be there for me initially,” Chung said.
Chung joined the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars this year and became one of only 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts in 2020, all of whom were nominated by YoungArts. According to the foundation, the Presidential Scholars program honors up to 161 graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to learning, leadership and community service.
Medina said Chung and Offor embody the philosophy of both the Visual Arts Department and the school as a whole.
“Caitlin and Offor are testaments to the dynamic and inspiring learning and teaching environment fostered within the Harvard-Westlake Visual Arts Department and school culture,” Medina said. “Having so many of our students recognized speaks volumes.”