Zhang, Viray top Pacifica art contest


Jenny Wu Zhang, of the Saipan Community School student, holds her winning artwork for Category 1 (ages 6-11 division). (Contributed Photos)

Two students got a surprise visit at their schools last week by Pacifica Insurance Underwriters, Inc. president Shirley Sablan and marketing coordinator Samantha Sikayun after winning first place in the 2018 Pacifica Art Contest.

Saipan Community School’s 11-year-old Jenny Wu Zhang won first place in the 6-11 age division (1st to 6th grade), and Saipan Southern High School’s 16-year-old Irish Christine Viray won first place in the 12-17 age division (7th to 12th grade).

There was a total of 305 submissions: 153 entries for the 6-11 age division and 150 for the 12-17 age division.

“I was blown away by the level of talent during this year’s art contest. Our judges had the most difficult task of choosing just two out of the many,” said Sablan. “On behalf of everyone at Pacifica, I would like to thank the judges, school administrators and teachers for helping us ensure the success of our contest.”

As part of their prizes, Zhang and Viray received a $200 check and various art supplies.

This year’s judging panel included Mark Sonoda, WE670 TV owner and creator; photographer Lauren Benson; and American Red Cross-NMI Chapter vice chair Larry Lee.

“This contest is such a vivid testament to the fact that there is no shortage of talented, young artists in the CNMI. Congratulations to both winners and all of the students who entered. You all made my task as a judge extremely difficult,” said Sonoda.

“This competition plays such an amazing role in our community. These kids have created something unique, and you could tell that each artist has a different connection to what they consider Christmas to be to them,” said Benson, of Lauren Benson Photography. “Surprising these kids with a prize at their school is a huge encouragement to keep going.”

“I was really impressed with the level of artistic talent in the entries submitted. Judging was not easy. Kudos to Pacifica Insurance for continuing this art contest and promoting art development among our youth,” said Lee.

Students were asked to create and submit an original art piece, including the slogan “Rest assured, it’s Christmas.” Permitted mediums included water paint, oil-based paint, pastels, crayons, and pencils. Maximum dimensions were 18 inches by 24 inches.

The winning artwork pieces will be featured in Pacifica Insurance’s marketing campaigns for the holidays and in the upcoming year.

The artwork of the top five winners will be made available for viewing on Pacifica’s art contest web page (www.pacificains.com/artcontest) and the company’s Facebook social media page (facebook.com/pacificainsuranceunderwriters).

For information about the Pacifica Art Contest, call (670) 234-6267/7722/7310 or email piui@pacificains.com. Pacifica Insurance is located at the Joeten Center in Susupe. (PR)

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