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Aspiring artists, start here 

A surprising number of successful artists began their careers in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s High School Art Portfolio Competition.

Locals such as Tony Girolo—now an art instructor at Cuesta College and Hancock College, as well as the museum’s preparator of exhibitions—and Nixson Borah, a retired art teacher and well-respected local artist, credit their recognition in the competition with solidifying their faith in themselves as artists.

“It was an important moment in my life,”
Borah recalled. “The recognition was not only encouraging, but validated my dream of making art my life’s work.”

Bryce Vinokurov, whose exhibit “Foodies in Exile” hung at SLOMA in January, had fond memories of participating in the portfolio competition as a teenager.

“It was the first time my work was ever seen publicly,” said Vinokurov, now a professor of art at UC Davis. “I was so proud of that, it kept me going for years as an artist.”

The competition, now in its 45th year, encourages high school juniors and seniors from San Luis Obispo County to submit a portfolio of their finest work for judging. This year’s juror is Ruta Saliklis, the museum’s director of exhibitions and development. Saliklis will be looking for “consistent quality, originality, and craftsmanship in the entire portfolio,” press materials read.

This year marks the first time new media will be considered, including animation, video, and
web art. The deadline for submissions is Monday, May 14.

The winners will be honored with a reception on Thursday, May 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. Awards will be announced at 5 p.m. Several pieces from each winner, as well as one from each of the participants, will be

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is at 1010 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo. For more information, call 543-8562.

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