New Canaan High School 2019 Grad Wins International Climate Change Art Contest

Gwenan Walker, a freshman in USC’s Roski School of Art and Design, has won a Gold Award for her Art submission to the 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest, sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat). Walker, who was selected from more than 3,500 entries from around the world, received a $1,500 cash scholarship. She also will be featured in Bow Seat’s Gallery, which showcases ocean advocacy artwork created by a global community of youth.

The 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest invited students to create visual art, films, music, poetry, or prose about a species, place, or system being impacted by climate change. Gwenan’s Art submission, titled “All That’s Left,” which she created during her senior year at New Canaan High School in Connecticut was inspired by the scientific drawings of Ernst Haeckel and undersea statue exhibits like the Molinere Underwater Scuplture Park. https://bowseat.org/gallery/all-thats-left/

“Since I have been at USC I’ve been exploring a few ideas I have to create ocean and climate change awareness using animation,” Gwenan said. “I’m really excited about the opportunities I see to use animation as a way to inform and educate everyone, but especially children. And since President Folt earned a bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Biology, I think USC is a good place to find like-minded people concerned about the health of our world’s oceans.”

Bow Seat’s annual Ocean Awareness Contest (Contest), now in its ninth year, is an educational program for students to creatively explore, express, and advocate for issues related to our oceans and waterways. Since its launch, the Contest has engaged more than 12,000 middle and high schoolers from 106 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Bow Seat has awarded $300,000 in scholarships to help advance teens’ creative talents and passion for the environment.

“Our participants’ moving tributes to threatened wildlife and places special to them demonstrate how all of us are affected by the climate crisis, no matter where in the world we live,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “We are proud that the Ocean Awareness Contest provides a platform for youth to speak up for the health of our oceans through the arts, which is a powerful and effective way to make the science of climate change personal, relevant, and accessible. We are thrilled that Gwenan has joined our growing global community of young creators, who are an important part of the youth movement taking creative leadership to help protect our blue planet.”

The 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest, “Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis,” is open now through June 15, 2020, to students ages 11-18 worldwide.

About Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs: Bow Seat is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit whose mission is to engage youth in ocean conservation and advocacy through the arts. Visit bowseat.org for more information about Bow Seat’s programs, educational resources, and gallery of student artwork and creative media.

Read the artist's reflection on New Canaan High School website here.


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