Anamaria Salgado does the same thing every day when she comes home from school. She pulls out her paper and markers and begins to draw.
“My favorite is drawing flowers, or people, and drawing all about Arizona,” said the 10-year-old student at Yavapai Elementary School in Scottsdale.
Salgado’s hard work paid off this winter when she and 24 other students were chosen from more than 700 student artists to win a Southwest Indian Foundation certificate.
The Gallup, N.M.-based organization pursues a vibrant American Indian culture by giving something back to youth and encouraging them to create art, said Rhonda Ray, the foundation’s director of special projects.
The entries, which were judged by 28 master American Indian artists, included weaving, sculpture, paintings and drawings.
Though most winners are American Indians, it’s not a requirement.
“It’s about promoting freedom of expression,” Ray said. “Gallup is the birthplace of great Native American art, and we hope to gain recognition, especially for the new generation of artists, to renew that tradition of excellence.”
As a reward, Anamaria will receive a box of new art supplies, with paints, brushes, sketching paper and a drawing board worth more than $150.
Yavapai art teacher Ed Cami, a professional artist, said entering contests is one of the best ways to get his students enthusiastic about artwork.
Dozens of awards and certificates from school, district and art organization contests line the walls of his classroom.
“Always, my goal is to let them (be) involved in these programs,” he said.
While some schools have cut art programs in recent years, Yavapai students still have at least one art class a week.