The votes are in…Congratulations to our winners!
This past fall, LA Opera hosted a contest for currently enrolled college art and design students in southern California. Students were asked to submit artwork for LA Opera’s spring production of Strauss’s Salome for a chance to be featured on the cover of the show’s performance program and displayed at the home of LA Opera, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Thanks to the generous support of GRoW @ Annenberg, more than 35 students from 14 different southern California institutions competed for cash prizes and to see their artwork on this season’s Salome program cover. The winners were chosen by a jury, chaired by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of the Annenberg Foundation and by Regina Weingarten, a member of the LA Opera board of directors. The jury also included Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera President and CEO; Diane Bergman, LA Opera Vice President of Marketing and Communications; Keith Rainville, LA Opera Brand Manager; and Tim Johnson, Film Director at DreamWorks Animation and a member of the LA Opera board of directors. We are pleased to announce our three winners: Marshall Dahlin, David Kwock, and Lauren Moss.
The top submission (see below), by Marshall Dahlin of Cal State Fullerton, was selected for the Salome cover, and earned him a $5,000 prize.
After learning about the art contest from a school email, Dahlin began researching Salome.
“When I found out the opera is based on the Oscar Wilde play and read that LA Opera wanted something in the art nouveau style, I thought that something in the style of Aubrey Beardsley might work well,” says Dahlin.
Beardsley was a nineteenth century English illustrator, who emphasized the era’s decadence in his work and was instrumental to the development of the art nouveau movement.
David Kwock of Cal State Dominguez Hills – who won $2,000 for second place for his submission (see below) – also learned of the art contest from his school. His professor assigned the art contest as a project. While Kwock was familiar with the story of Salome from studying for art history classes and the Bible, he did some additional research to figure out how he wanted to design his piece.
“I was influenced by images of opera masks. I took the that idea and gave the mask features that looked like John the Baptist. I have a background in photography and so I did a minimalist design that would show the story I tried to depict,” discusses Kwock.
Third place winner Lauren Moss of Santa Monica College – who won $1,000 for third place for her submission (see below) – learned about the art contest from a Facebook post. Although Moss is an opera fan, she did additional research on Salome specifically before creating her piece with water color.
“Everyone seems to demonize Salome, but I wanted to show that she was grieving. I painted her during her famous dance scene, but with a swan instead of John the Baptist’s head,” says Moss. She used a swan in place of John the Baptist’s head, because of the expression “swan’s song,” which is said when someone is doing something for the last time.
While Dahlin, Kwock, and Moss were inspired by different things for their submissions, they all have one thing in common: they have never been to an LA Opera performance. They have all expressed interest in attending an LA Opera performance, but never thought they would have the opportunity to do so. Thanks to this contest, the winners and all qualifying contestants have been invited to the opening night performance of Salome on February 18. The winners will attend the cast party to receive their prize and meet the cast and creatives behind the production. We hope all will soon become lifelong opera fans.
For more information about LA Opera and our current season, visit our website.
This contest was made possible with the generous support of GRoW @ Annenberg.
LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.