Nine local youth place in the To Be Honest art contest

On February 17th, Momentum for Health held a press conference to announce the winners of the art contest held by To Be Honest, our behavioral health stigma reduction campaign for youth, transitional aged youth and their families in Santa Clara County.

The contest was open to Santa Clara residents between the ages of 14-25. Momentum received 111 submissions. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, music, digital art, videos and poetry were submitted in 2D, 3D and 4D (digital art) categories. Each artist included a short statement about how their art reflected the theme, My Mental Health in 2020.

The ‘To Be Honest’ Momentum program is guided by an advisory group comprised of behavioral health and education professionals from the community. The purpose of the art contest was two-fold, said Momentum President and CEO David Mineta. “We tried to lift some of the restraints young people have been living under for the past 11 months by allowing them to choose their preferred mediums. This was also an opportunity for young artists to communicate to the community how the pandemic has affected their mental health,” he said.

Judges for the contest included: Susan Ellenberg, Santa Clara County Supervisor; Marico Sayoc, mayor of Los Gatos and executive director of CASSY (Counseling and Support Services for Youth); Ruben Escalante, studio manager and program mentor at DMCStudio (a program of MACLA) and art curator for Emo Kids of Color art collective; Michael R. Van Every, West Coast president of Republic Urban Properties; Kalen Gallagher, president of the Campbell Union High School District Board of Trustees and the co-director of New Leaders Council; Rebecca Hopkins, art teacher at Oak Grove High School; Cera Renault, art teacher at Oak Grove High School; and Cherri Lakey, owner of the Anno Domini gallery and coordinator for the South First Fridays art walk.

“I’m proud to have supported the ‘To Be Honest’ youth art contest at the height of the pandemic last year,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “Our youth are bearing the brunt of this health crisis, with rising rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Encouraging self-expression and self-care through the creation of art is an effective way to help support them.”

Michael Van Every of Republic Urban Properties was honored to be a judge. “To witness such beauty and expression helped me better understand the deep impact the pandemic has had on our children and young adults. Their soulful imagery conveyed real pain and suffering.”

“We’re thrilled to honor the talented young artists who courageously submitted their art, and openly expressed how 2020 impacted their emotional and mental well-being,” said Avery Cruz, To Be Honest program manager. “Last year was isolating, anxiety-provoking and depressing for many. These young artists were able to reflect on these difficult times and reveal personal hardships through their art. We couldn’t be more pleased to share their creativity as we work to continue normalizing the conversation around behavioral health.”

The winners of the contest are:




To view all submissions, please click here. Or, to view the Top 9 Submissions, please click here.