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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on July 9th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 18 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 18

Representing her district

Righetti grad Christa Weston receives a congressional distinction for her photography

BY JOE PAYNE


Quite a distinction
Congresswoman Lois Capps was host to Righetti grad Christa Weston in Washington, D.C., as part of the Congressional Art Competition.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS MEAGHER

With summer in full swing, another batch of high school graduates is now facing the future. In particular, one Ernest Righetti High School senior has received a piece of motivation and vindication in pursuing her plan as an art major.

Christa Weston, who graduated from Righetti last month, was chosen as the winner of the annual Congressional Art Competition, representing the 24th Congressional District. Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) was host to Weston in Washington, D.C., where the recent grad’s art was shown along with work by the other winners from districts across the country.

“It was an honor to host Christa in Washington this week,” Congresswoman Capps said in a statement released by her office. “She is a very talented young student, and I have no doubt she will go on to do great things as an artist.”

The journey to Washington began at Ernest Righetti High School in Kizen Sugano’s photography class, where Weston was a student.

“Mr. Sugano, he’s always getting e-mails about different photo opportunities in the community,” Weston said. “He always lets the advanced photo kids know about the contests going on.”

Weston, like all the other students who submitted artwork, was allowed to submit one piece into the contest. She decided to choose a photo she shot of a boarded-up restaurant in Buellton.

“When I first shot it, it wasn’t planned for this; it was just because it was something I would always drive by,” she said. “It used to be right off the 101. I always thought it was so cool looking. It got boarded up and I heard they were going to tear it down so I thought ‘I have to get a picture of this!’”

Capps and her staff voted on the submissions. It was her piece’s local twist that ended up setting her work apart, Weston explained.

“[Capps] said that it was voted on by her office, and she said that people really liked it because it was a conversation starter,” Weston explained. “She said that before the art was hung, it was in her office and the people from her district who would come to her office would recognize it.”

Picking out a local landmark isn’t enough to seal a win; how Weston treated the subject was just as important.

“I feel like today in the art world it’s really about your ideas and your perspective and what you are trying to say,” she said. “I try to do a lot of thematic things with photography; I feel photography is the best medium to use if you want to tell something to a person.”

Weston has been involved in art from a very young age. Her mother always made sure she was stocked with drawing supplies, and her knack for photography was evident.

“She was probably 4 or 5 years old and we were on a family vacation and we would hand her the camera to take the pictures,” said her mother, Charlene Weston. “She just has an eye for it.”

Though opportunities for art classes were limited for Christa as she grew up, her passion was always supported at home. But it wasn’t until junior high that she started seeing photography as a possible career.

“I started taking it seriously in junior high because that’s when they start doing the career tests and it told me I would be good working in the arts and media field,” she said. “That’s when I started looking at photography as not just something I enjoyed but something I could be taking seriously.”

She’s certainly taking it seriously now, especially after a trip to Washington, D.C., where she got to take photos of the iconic buildings and landmarks.

“It was so awesome,” she said. “You see it in movies, but when you are actually there it feels surreal. You see these huge buildings, all the paintings, and history they represent, it’s amazing.”

Weston will be taking her talents with her to California State University of Long Beach, where she was accepted. Her major, of course, is art, which she plans to use to gain a career in the art world.

“I would really love to become a museum curator or a staff photographer for a museum because I really love museums so much,” she said. “Curators really get to look at a room and design it so all the pieces of the art work together and play off each other and say something different when they are all put together.”

 

Arts Editor Joe Payne casts his vote for art. Contact him at jpayne@santamariasun.com.