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Arts Council Napa Valley Names Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Year for 2020/21

Arts Council Napa Valley Names Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Year for 2020/21


The Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) announced its visual and performing arts Scholarship winners in four different categories–Overall Student of the Year ($1500), Festival Napa Valley Music Students of the Year (Instrumental $1000, Vocal $1000), Distinguished Music students ($250), and  Discipline Honor students ($200). The recipients were selected from sixty Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Student of the Month winners. The 2020/21 school year was the second year for the program which sought nominations from art educators from all over Napa Valley. Thanks to generous donations from the SOTA Family Foundation, Napa Valley Community Foundation, and Festival Napa Valley, ACNV was able to double its scholarship fund in 2021. 

“We are so pleased with the support we’ve received for this initiative, from art educators as well as funders,” said Chris DeNatale, ACNV Executive Director.  He added, “It’s heartening to see our art students receive the recognition they deserve, especially after such a challenging year.” 

The program will resume with the new school year, once again seeking nominations from art educators from all over the county, including public and private schools as well as homeschooled students.


Here are the winners:

Visual & Performing Arts Student of the Year 

Eleanor Aslanian, St. Helena High School 

“Making art has been the best way to get through this year.” Eleanor Aslanian, Arts Council Napa Valley’s Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Year speaks for ALL art students this year who have managed to thrive despite the hardships presented by the pandemic. An active member of the St. Helena High School drama department for all four years–stage managing, directing and acting–Aslanian pivoted from stage to film her senior year–writing, directing, filming, and editing a short film Crying By the Record Machine. “Having the opportunity to make this short film really created a positive outlet for me to deal with some of the hardest challenges in my life, specifically my house burning down in September 2020,” Aslanian said. She added, “Filmmaking was the perfect way for me to take my emotions and turn it into a project that I’m very proud of.” 

Patti Coyle, St. Helena Theater Director, nominated Aslanian for the scholarship award. “I’ve watched her overcome insurmountable odds to not only make a beautiful film about her experience, but she’s been accepted into prestigious institutions all over the country, including being waitlisted at Harvard.” Aslanian, the class of 2021 Representative for the St. Helena High Thespian chapter, Troupe #1091, is also a talented musician, playing piano and singing in the Teen Choir. She was also a member of the SHHS Band for her first two years in High School. Aslanian is a founding member of Students for Change. Coyle said, “Ellie fights for the rights of marginalized populations and strives for equity in all she does.” 

Aslanian will complete an internship with Zoetrope Studies, Francis Ford Coppola’s film studio, before heading to New York City in August to attend the New School where she will enter a master program in the arts of all forms–music, filmmaking, painting and drawing. Executive Director, Christopher DeNatale said, “It’s never easy to select just one student of the year from this exceptional group, but Ellie stood out to our selection committee.” The Arts Council’s core mission with its scholarship program is to help students further their arts education. “Ellie’s decision to study not only theater and film, but music and art, was very persuasive to our panel,” DeNatale said.

Festival Napa Valley Music Students of the Year ($1000)

Ella Ranada, American Canyon High School

Recognized for excellence in Instrumental Music

Genesis Celaya, Justin-Siena High 

Recognized for excellence in Vocal Music

Festival Napa Valley Distinguished Music Students of the Year ($250)

Vocal

Alexi Cabanez, American Canyon High School 

Recognized for excellence in Vocal Music

Jane U’Ren, Vintage High School  

Recognized for excellence in Vocal Music

Maia Medalle, American Canyon Middle School 

Recognized for excellence in Vocal Music

Instrumental

Martin Gaudard, Napa High School 

Recognized for excellence in Instrumental Music

Jennifer Pan, Napa High School 

Recognized for excellence in Instrumental Music

William Picetti, Redwood Middle School 

Recognized for excellence in Instrumental Music

VAPA Distinguished Students of the Year ($250)

Performing Arts: Micah Scott, American Canyon High School

Recognized for excellence in Theater

Visual Arts: Alexa Cazares, Calistoga High School  

Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

Visual Arts: Lexi Sario, Vintage High School

Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

Visual Arts: Morgan Santiago, American Canyon Middle School

Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

Visual Arts: Morgan Santiago, American Canyon Middle School

Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

VAPA Art Discipline Honors ($200)

Visual Arts: Maiya Alvarez, Napa High High School   

Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

Visual Arts: Alejandra Medina, Napa High School

Recognized for excellence in Photography
(Image is an example of Medina’s photography.)

Visual Arts: Narangoo Erdene Ochir, New Technology High School

Recognized for excellence in Digital Media

Visual Arts: Natalie Gomez Jimenez, Harvest Middle School

Recognized for excellence in Digital Media

Visual Arts: Arya Adhye, River Middle School

Recognized for excellence in Studio Arts

Visual Arts: Sofia Leon-Munoz, Silverado Middle School

Recognized for excellence in 3-D Arts

Visual Arts: Stella Kellar, St. Apollinaris 

Recognized for excellence in 3-D Arts


About Arts Council Napa Valley

​As the official local arts agency in Napa County, Arts Council Napa Valley connects, advocates, and leads the arts community countywide. Since 1981 the Arts Council has served to benefit all residents with a more sustainable, accessible, and quality local arts scene.  Since the adoption of the Napa County Cultural Plan in 2009, it has organized policy initiatives like the City of Napa Percent for Art Ordinance. The Arts Council also offers programs and support, like the Napa Valley Creative Directory, ACNV Community Fund, and VAPA Student of the Month program to empower the industry through education, information, and resources.