Monkey, Tigers, and art

Chinese American Citizens Alliance HQ

Every two years, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance sponsors an art competition for grades K-12. This year’s contest, which asked students across the country to submit art that reflects Chinese zodiac animal that represents them, was co-sponsored by the Chinese American Museum. It was the latter that invited me to be a judge. My favorite piece showed a tiger dreaming about his birthday. Very realistic and surreal.

Top left: Grades 7-9. Right and bottom left: Grades 10-12.

All pieces were 18″ x 24″, and ranged from crayons and watercolors to inks and collage. There were a few oils on canvas. The subject matter ranged wildly, with elementary-school students going out of their minds depicting animals that not only co-exist in their own fantastic universe but put on fashion shows and clean up toxic waste as well. Wouldn’t the pastel rendering of a horse in space look great airbrushed on the side of a ’70s van?

Grades K-3 (I think).

Sadly, there was some evidence that creativity becomes stifled as the age brackets become older, but there were always enough well-executed submissions to make judging interesting. The five jurors represented CACA and CAM, and included members of the Pueblo and the mayor of South Pasadena. It was interesting to hear everyone’s point of view, and I wasn’t afraid to call otherwise popular pieces corny. The ones shown here are some of my favorites, and many of them went on to win.

Grades 4-6 (I think).

Although the winners were determined over the weekend, their names remained anonymous and won’t be unveiled until a banquet takes place later this month. Or is it next month? I’m sure that CAM or CACA will provide the details soon, and the two grand prize winners and top three finishers in each categories will receive scholarships adding up to 3,400 bucks. In the meantime, I gotta get Eloise ready to enter when she enters kindergarten!

Inside the Chinese American Citizens Alliance HQ

The Chinese American Citzens Alliance lodge itself is a hidden and cool vintage gem in L.A.’s Chinatown, but what happened to the little to-go kitchen on the other side of the alley? You know, the one that still served big dan tats…