Three Southern California college students were selected as the winners of LA Opera’s Rigoletto art contest.
Thanks to the generous support of GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative of the Annenberg Foundation, local college students were invited to create original artwork inspired by the company’s upcoming production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, which opens on May 12. Students from 18 different southern California colleges submitted a total of 53 entries in a competition to see their artwork appear on the Rigoletto program cover and displayed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
The three winners were chosen by a jury chaired by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, GRoW @ Annenberg founder, and his wife, LA Opera board member Regina Weingarten, and consisting of LA Opera board member Tim Johnson, LA Opera’s Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO Christopher Koelsch, and a panel of art, opera, marketing and design experts.
“As an avid supporter of arts education, GRoW @ Annenberg believes that Los Angeles is the creative capital for talented young artists,” said Gregory Annenberg Weingarten in a press release. “We are thrilled to support LA Opera’s production of Rigoletto and the second annual art poster contest. The imagination and ability of the college students who submitted their work is inspiring and we’re pleased to support their passion to design meaningful works of art.”
The top submission, by Benjamin Macias of the California Institute of the Arts, was selected for the Rigoletto cover, earning him a $5,000 prize.
“I felt really happy when I found out,” said Macias. “I remember reading the email over and over again, and kept asking myself ‘Is this real?’ … [I’m] super grateful to the people at LA Opera and opportunities provided for students.”
Macias went on to describe the importance of the performing arts and how it inspired his award-winning submission.
“I think performing arts and design are very similar in that they have a deeper concept behind the bright colors and beautiful imagery,” Macias said. “So it starts to get really interesting when these two arts combine. It’s super important and working with other people that are making incredible work is what makes design fun and interesting for me.”
Faith Angelie Dela Cruz of California State University–Fullerton won $2,000 for second place and Sean Devine Robinson of Pasadena City College won $1,000 for third place.
Dela Cruz noted that she drew inspiration of the opulent colors of Mark Lamos’ lavish production.
“I wanted to show bright, abstract colors and contrast that with the black silhouette of Rigoletto,” said Dela Cruz. “The bright colors represent how Rigoletto can bring joy to others while the black shows his sorrow when he finds out about his daughter.”
Sean Devine Robinson was shocked to found out he placed, and couldn’t wait to share the news with his friends and family.
“I was at Philz Coffee when I got the email, and I think my jaw hit the table,” Robinson joked. “I was super happy. I got that emotional feeling you get when something good happens.”
These three winners have been invited to the opening night cast supper to be toasted by the cast of Rigoletto; all qualifying contestants have also been invited to see the show during its run.
For more information about LA Opera’s Rigoletto, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.