Gilbertie’s front lawn at sunset on September 21 was the setting for this year’s Young Shoots at Home awards ceremony and reception. Sponsored by Westport Farmers Market (WFM) in collaboration with The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center and Artists Collective of Westport, the photography contest and reception – like all things 2020 – incorporated restrictions due to the pandemic.
Budding photographers from 8 to 18-years old had a choice – to showcase produce, flowers, prepared food, or anything representative of WFM at home or at the market this year. And, just as we have seen from kids generally over the past seven months, these young artists demonstrated characteristic resiliency, creativity, and a can-do attitude.
“Young Shoots is an incredible way for me to show both my creativity and my love for food –the taste of it and its shapes, patterns, and textures you can’t find anywhere except in nature,” said Alexander Sod, who won 1st place and the People’s Choice award in the 11 to 14-year-old category for his photo: Unraveling. Though “elated about winning”, Sod noted changes since he won first place in last year’s contest.
“This year’s ceremony was low key because of social distancing, but I understood,” he said. “It did provide me an opportunity to talk with people about the contest and my artwork, though, which was fun.”
Indeed, families and friends were invited to view the artwork on a long table outside, with timed entry to prevent a crowd, and refreshments served by Sugar & Olives in individual packets to-go. The beautiful evening was symbolic.
“Now in its seventh year, this wonderful community photo exhibit for kids 8 to 18-years old once again shined a light on the boundless creativity and potential of Westport’s youth,” said Miggs Burroughs of The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center. “It was my great pleasure to join the Westport Farmers Market and the Artists Collective of Westport in presenting the winners and entries of Young Shoots at Home.
The winners of this year’s contest were:
8 to 10-year old category
First place: Kayla Stanley for Rinsing Strawberries
Second place: Nakul Sethi for The Sunset Focacia
11 to 14-year-old category
First place: Alexander Sod for Unraveling
Second place: Rose Porosoff for Veins
15 to 18-year-old category
First place: Morgan Freydl for Seacoast Mushrooms
Second place: Anooshka Sethi for Sunshine Toast
Overall People’s Choice
Alexander Sod in the 11 to 14-year-old category
This year’s first place winners will enjoy $100 each plus WFM merchandise; second place winners receive $50 each plus WFM merchandise.
For Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of WFM and founder of the program, Young Shoots is more than a food photography contest. “Clearly it encourages creativity in young people which itself is critical, but it also reminds adults that kids see things with a lightness and simplicity that we might miss. To see the world of food through their eyes is refreshing. It was such a positive and lovely evening.”
To view the entries and winners from this year’s contest, visit: https://youngshootsathome.artcall.org/pages/web-gallery?preview=true