Congratulations to the 2018 Young Artists and Authors Showcase Winners

Building the Bridge Between Nations by McKay Osborne, 2018 YAAS winner

We want to extend a huge congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2018 Young Artists and Authors Showcase. For decades, Sister Cities International has leveraged the power that art has to transform societies and transcend cultural boundaries through the Young Artists and Authors Showcase. The Showcase has given youth worldwide the opportunity to express their vision for a more unified, peaceful world through original artwork and literature.

This year’s theme was the “Art of Diplomacy,” which highlights the importance of citizen diplomacy and the innovative ways citizen diplomats achieve peace through people-to-people interaction. Students were encourage to draw inspiration from their experiences with Sister Cities, travel, exchange, international friendships, and the many ways that people cultivate relationships across cultures.

The winners in the art category are McKay Osborne of Mesa, Arizona and Minori Sakamoto of Fukui, Japan. The finalists in this category are as follows:

  • Alex Avila (Belvidere, IN)
  • Isabella Bustanoby (Culver City, CA)
  • Jessica Clermont (Delray Beach, FL)
  • Elizabeth Linn (Lexington, KY)
  • Jodi Nguyen (Hampton, VA)
  • Saori Arakawa (Hanamaki, Japan)
  • Victoria E. Ibanez (Barranquilla, Colombia)
  • Nuamah Mathias (Accra, Ghana)
  • Ryunosuke Sakano (Osaka, Japan)
  • Yuhe Zhao (Shanghai, China)

The winners in the photography category are Anton Edward Kot of New Haven, Connecticut and Nicolle Pico of Barranquilla, Colombia. The finalists in this category are as follows:

  • Joshua Cortez (San Antonio, TX)
  • Jennifer Lam (Aurora, CO)
  • Carmela Velasquez (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Marianna Bernardis (Capo d’ Orlando, Italy)
  • Andres Hincapie Cardenas (Barranquilla, Colombia)
  • Hayeong Park (Icheon (Gyeongido, Korea)
  • Antonella Tascone (Capo d’ Orlando, Italy)

The winners in the writing caregory are Michelle Zhao of Chandler Arizona for her essay, and Tara Ruhland of Meza, Arizona for her poem. The finalists in this category are as follows:

Essay Finalists

  • Deyona Burton (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Beibhinn Cullen (Tullamore, Ireland)
  • Skye Gabbard (Lexington, KY)
  • John Guilfoil (Lexington, KY)
  • Alex Wilerson (Suffolk, VA)

Poetry Finalists

  • Kaitlyn Adams (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Alyssa Goden (Suffolk, VA)
  • Rylee McNiff (Lakeland, FL)
  • Kyle Polen (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • Emily Wang (Lexington, KY)

The winners in each category will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The winners’ and finalists’ work will also be on display at our 2018 Annual Conference in Aurora Colorado next week, August 2-4. To learn more and register for the conference, please visit our conference webpage. Following the conference, the artwork will go on a tour to several cities across the United States.


For more information about the Young Artists and Authors Showcase and to request copies of the artwork, email [email protected]. or visit our Young Artists and Authors Showcase webpage. To view the 2018 Showcase submissions, please visit our Tumblr page.