Upper Schoolers named as YoungArts Award recipients in multiple categories


Printed with permission of Baxter Chelsom

Becca Berlin

14 student artists secured the titles of Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit across multiple disciplines in the National YoungArts Foundation’s annual competition for teen artists, called the YoungArts Awards.

Baxter Chelsom ’23 won a Finalist title in photography. His portfolio follows his father’s relationship with family and art. Chelsom said he uses a camera to view these relationships from a third-party perspective.

“When I started this passion project, I personally gave [it] the title ‘Father & Family’ because of the separation the camera caused,” Chelsom said in his YoungArts artist statement. “He always had a camera in front of his face, and [in this project] I was the one with the camera in front of my face.”

Chelsom began studying photography as a freshman, building upon his background in cinematic arts. He developed his skills during his time in the Cinematic Arts Program at Millikan Middle School.

“When I’m with my camera, I’m observant, waiting for something to catch my eye,” Chelsom said in his YoungArts artist statement.

Allison Park ’21 won a Finalist title in the classical music designation. Park began playing the violin at the age of seven but switched to the viola as a sophomore.

“Since the viola is still relatively new to me, I never had the right combinations of repertoire to apply for YoungArts, but this year, especially because I had to prepare for the prescreening requirements for music conservatories, I finally was able to apply,” Park said.

Felicity Phelan ’21 won an Honorable Mention in spoken word. They focus on topics of body image and gender identity.

“I think I’m drawn to poetry for the opportunities to explore and experiment with language,” Phelan said. “I don’t play an instrument, but there’s something musical about the rhythm of spoken word that really excites me.”

Visual Arts Teacher and Middle School Department Head Joe Medina works with visual arts students entering the competition, helping them construct their portfolios.

“As a teacher, it is important to keep an open mind as students bring new ideas to their projects, especially considering that YoungArts is looking for strong individual voices,” Medina said.

Beyond awards, the National YoungArts Foundation provides opportunities for youth artists to make connections to further their artistic careers and endeavors. Visual Arts Teacher Conor Thompson praised the benefits available to YoungArts Finalists.

“Finalists get to participate in National YoungArts Week, which is a program where they meet with other finalists from all over the country and participate in master classes and workshops with professional artists,” Thompson said.

Completed list of award recipients:


Classical Music:

Allison Park ’21

Visual Arts:

Kacey Kim ’21


Baxter Chelsom ’23


Hannah Han ’21 (Short Story)

Honorable Mention:


Penny Juarez ’21

Scarlett Pinkey ’22


Aiko Offner ’23 (Creative Nonfiction)

Felicity Phelan ’21 (Spoken Word)


Tara Neil ’21



Ayden Chi ’22

Therese Enriquez ’22


Andrea Yagher ’20


Kieran Chung ’23 (Novel)


Olivia Gubel ’21 (Singer-Songwriter)