'Orange' stirs creative juices

Annual high school exhibit at Laguna College of Art + Design leads to scholarships for nearly a dozen students.

April 10, 2014|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Laguna College of Art and Design's trustees presented Nancy Lawrence with a special award for her 40-year dedication to the college's Color It Orange art invitational program.
Laguna College of Art and Design's trustees presented… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

Pamela Martinez approached Sarina Shohet with a proposition late last year.

"I said to Sarina, 'Can I give you a really difficult assignment?'" Martinez recalled. "She said, 'Yes.'"

Students in Martinez's Advanced Placement art class at Irvine-based Tarbut V'Torah drew a single portrait for the project.

But Sarina drew two — one on white paper and the second on a differently textured brown sheet. The final graphite sketch, which depicts a friend whose parents are in the throes of a divorce, was titled "Cognizance of Her Teenage Psyche."

"This double assignment forced [her] to consider the process more carefully, bringing each drawing to the same stage of completion simultaneously," Martinez said.

"The drawings are difficult to execute because the artist will naturally compare the two drawings to see if they are the same person and thus begin to judge his or her own rendering abilities. Therefore, inherent in the task is a higher standard for the artist to achieve."


Without knowing so at the time, Sarina, 15, created work that her instructor deemed fit for Laguna College of Art + Design's invitational "Color It Orange." The event, open to high-schoolers from across Orange County, displays student artwork every spring at the LCAD campus.

Sarina's efforts paid off; she was one of 11 artists who received scholarships based on her contribution to "Color It Orange." The group was tapped by a committee comprising an LCAD faculty member and admissions specialist for the talent, skill and creativity they demonstrated.

They will attend a 10-week portfolio development program at the college and create an admissions package to further their goal of becoming college- or university-level arts majors.

The Seal Beach resident recounted visiting the exhibition with her mother and noticing a few works with ribbon flowers attached — hers being one of them.

"The room that my piece was in had walls literally covered in art," Sarina said. "It was crazy, and some of the work was incredible. I said, 'Oh my God, Mom, are you kidding? How did I win this?'"

Although she will be away at summer camp when other scholarship recipients — from Laguna Beach High School, Newport Harbor High School, Orange County School of the Arts and elsewhere — attend the class at LCAD, Sarina plans to enroll in the fall session.

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