Three college students awarded top prizes

(Los Angeles) June 11, 2020 — LA Opera has announced the winners of its fourth annual GRoW @ Annenberg Poster Contest. Earlier this year, aspiring artists from a number of Southern California colleges submitted artwork inspired by the opera The Marriage of Figaro. The artists competed to win cash prizes and for the chance for their work to be featured on the program cover for the company's June 2020 production of Mozart's opera (now cancelled).

Chosen from a record 124 entries, the top three winners share a total of $8,000 in prize money, provided thanks to the generous support of GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation. The winners were chosen through a blind selection process by a jury of art, opera and marketing experts, chaired by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Regina Weingarten, a Board and Executive Committee member of LA Opera.  

For the second year in a row, all three winners are women. Ash Coughlin, an illustration student at California State University-Fullerton who produces work centered on fantasy themes, won the top prize of $5,000. “I almost couldn't believe it," she said. "During these times, I've been pushing myself to study my craft more and more. It gave me hope knowing hard work pays off.”  

Mona Saii, an art major at California Lutheran University, won $2,000 for second place. "It is not only an honor, but it is also an encouragement to me to keep creating," she said. "I plan to use the award to continue to build my professional portfolio in my pursuit as an artist."

Juliann Hong, an illustration major at California State University-Northridge won $1,000 for third place. "This is the first time I've entered an art contest," she said. "I'm incredibly humbled and grateful to receive this award. It inspires me to work harder and to continue drawing.”

The Weingartens hosted a virtual celebration to honor the three winners. "The arts and arts education are essential for our human development by connecting us to the power of our common humanity, as well as to memorialize and propel social movements," said Mr. Weingarten. "From the worldwide pandemic, to subsequent economic devastation, and most recently the widespread movement to address systemic social injustices that have been in place for decades, we are living through challenging and emotional moments of historically significant importance. During these times of hardship, GRoW @ Annenberg is proud to support these young artists, whose careers are just emerging in the arts, and whose work provides relief and reflection, now and for the future." 

The three winning entries can be viewed at laopera.org/discover/blog/poster-contest-winners/.

About LA Opera
Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be. The communal and curative power of opera is needed now more than ever before, especially given the extraordinary challenges of the time. As LA Opera awaits its cue to return to the stage, the company is grateful to its supporters for helping to ensure that it has the resources needed to get through this unprecedented period. Those wanting to support LA Opera can visit LAOpera.org/donate to learn more.

LA Opera Media Contact 
Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications 
vwaite@laopera.org 
213.972.7554

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.