Clockwise from top left, Lindsey Tenaglia, Luke Osborne, Natalie Nong and Fiona McDermott have received MVFAF scholarships and will have their art showcased at the 2021 MVFAF on Sept. 18-19. Courtesy images.

On the heels of a 15-plus month avalanche of major event cancellations and virtual replacements, we just got word that the 64th Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, one of Mill Valley’s landmark events and an arts-centric postcard to the beauty, vibrancy and uniqueness of our town – is returning to the redwood grove at Old Mill Park on Sept. 18-19.

“For more than 60 years, our little festival has been a wonderful celebration of Mill Valley’s unique culture and community,” MVFAF Executive Director Steve Bajor said. “We are absolutely thrilled to be returning to what we do best in the heart of our beautiful town.”

​Organizers have ample logistical details to sort through in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, they’ve doled out scholarships to four young artists as part of the 2021 Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival Emerging Artist Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2010 through its Friends of the Festival non-profit for Tamalpais High School students who excel in the arts. Two senior Advanced Placement Studio Art students receive $500 awards and two juniors receive $250 awards in either 2D Design, Drawing or 3D portfolio. Unlike most scholarships that go to the institution, MVFAF’s awards go directly to the student to be used for tuition, art supplies and encourage them along their artistic path.

Congratulations to this years recipients:
Luke Osborn, Senior
“Creating art is an insatiable itch. So, I’ve devised a simple solution. I don’t stop scratching. Every summer I attend an art program to learn new techniques and hone in my artistic skills. And when I’m not attending an art program, I challenge myself to make art every single day. Each time marking my progress on a calendar, never letting myself break the chain. I do this because I fear the alternative.  Taking a day off without putting my hand to paper, I seem to lose some sense of self. It’s a difficult feeling to describe, but to put it simply, I feel the day is incomplete. I could run a marathon, do an hour of meditation, and eat all 13 essential vitamins, but if I didn’t create something, I would still feel like I hadn’t been productive that day. This feeling drives me into a malaise. I make art because I’m scared of what I might become if I didn’t.”

Lindsey Tenaglia, Senior
“Down to my roots I like to consider myself a storyteller and I feel a lot of my work often reflects that. I do what I call ‘one frame stories’ which is essentially me trying to convey a story with a singular piece. In my pieces, I like to focus on capturing tone and mood more than anything else to convey what a character might be feeling without having to use any words. Color theory and composition are other aspects of my work that I love to experiment with as well so I try to incorporate it into each piece I create.” 

Natalie Nong, Junior 
I make fantasy style artworks that tells stories of my own original characters. I love storytelling through visual means and I try to draw characters of color to represent the people in my life and the communities that I am a part of. I believe representation in artwork is extremely important and I rarely ever see characters of color in fantasy stories which is something I would like to change. I also love creating environments that are colorful or are inspired by places that I have been before such as Vietnam which is where my family is from. Art been a significant part of my life since middle school and has helped me grow in personal ways as well. I have also made artwork that is meaningful to me and that has helped me use my voice to speak out about issues that are important. I would like to pursue a career in art, possibly illustration or concept art, and be able to create more artworks that are meaningful to me and that I can share with others.

Fiona McDermott, Junior
I started off drawing multicolored dragons in elementary school with whatever colored pencils I could get my hands on. I checked out art books from the library and sketched what I found inside, or used the images as inspiration to create something unique. I filled sketchbooks and the margins of my homework with an ever expanding menagerie of mythical creatures. I can’t remember the singular moment where childish creativity bloomed into purposeful creation, but I do remember when I first started drawing digitally on my iPad right around the beginning of high school.   It was obviously a shift from what I’d been used to, but one that I had sought out ever since I’d first put stylus to screen. I’d finally found an art medium that I felt I could use to capture the scattered daydreams and ideas that circle my mind endlessly. It took years and multiple different programs, but with every piece I worked through and finished, I learned something new. As with all of art, it was and continues to be a journey to an unknowable end. 


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