Bow Seat Announces Student Winners of Global Arts Competition Highlighting Climate Hope
November 17, 2020

Nearly 350 Teens from Around the World are Recognized for Creating Visual Art, Writing, Film, Music, and Multimedia That Feature Solutions to Tackling the Climate Crisis

(Boston, MA) – Today Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat) announced the winners of the 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest, a global arts competition that engages youth in creatively raising awareness of and advocating for environmental issues impacting our blue planet.

The 2020 Contest theme, “Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis,” challenged participants to create a piece that shares their ideas for confronting the climate emergency and emphasizes the role of hope in making meaningful change. Approximately 5,300 students from 92 countries and 49 U.S. states responded with paintings, poems, songs, documentaries, multimedia, and stories that highlighted renewable energy sources, technological innovations, and nature-based solutions, as well as tangible personal actions that individuals can adopt in their everyday lives. Protesting also emerged as a significant theme among student entries, and many participants addressed the connections between climate change and crises including the COVID-19 pandemic and social injustice.

The Senior Division (ages 15-18) Gold Award winners, who each received a $1,500 award, are:

  • Art – Jingyi Yang (Washington)
  • Film – Yonah Sadeh (Connecticut)
  • Interactive & Multimedia – Rose Whelan (Pennsylvania)
  • Music – Zanaiah Billups (Georgia)
  • Poetry – Elane Kim (California)
  • Prose – Minseo Kim (Australia)

The Junior Division (ages 11-14) Gold Award winners, who each received a $1,000 award, are:

  • Art – Ahrin Lee (Singapore)
  • Film – Cassiana Silva Young (Canada)
  • Interactive & Multimedia – Zuzanna Witek & Angela Latoń (Poland)
  • Music – Salome Agbaroji (California)
  • Poetry – Nuan Ning Teioh (Malaysia)
  • Prose – Carly Liao (California)

In addition, the new $1,500 Voice of the Sea Award, which recognizes an outstanding Spoken Word submission, was presented to Abigia Debebe from Ethiopia. To view, read, and watch all of the 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest winners, visit

“Without a doubt, 2020 has been a challenging year with interconnected health, social, and environmental crises affecting us all,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “It was appropriate, then, that the 2020 Contest theme—hope—compelled participants to imagine a better future for people and our shared planet, and inspired them to explore solutions to bring this vision to life.

“The 2020 Contest received a record number of submissions—we are proud that this program not only provided so many students around the world with the opportunity to learn about climate change, but that it also instilled in them a greater sense of agency to actively fight the crisis,” continued Cabot. “Despite the disruptions and distractions that students faced this year, they used their creative voices to speak out for our oceans and our future. We are proud and incredibly excited to support their work.”

Thousands of educators from all disciplines bring the Ocean Awareness Contest into their classrooms, and this year many took advantage of the program’s compatibility with remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic to educate their students about the climate crisis and its impact on oceans, and to empower them to be environmental stewards. “Bow Seat’s online resources are unmatched in terms of supporting teachers with ideas and students with real-world learning—even from a landlocked state,” said Allison Seitz, a Language Arts teacher from Missouri. “Students absolutely loved all of the options Bow Seat offered from writing to art.”

As part of its programming, Bow Seat expands the reach of student work by showcasing their pieces in its international ocean advocacy Gallery, and through exhibitions, film screenings, educational presentations, publications, and social media. This provides special opportunities to display the talents of individual artists while raising awareness of environmental issues to broader communities through the power of students’ collective voices.

The 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest, “Water Rising,” is open now through June 14, 2021, to students ages 11-18 worldwide.


About Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs: Bow Seat is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit whose mission is to educate and engage youth in ocean conservation and advocacy through the arts. Bow Seat’s annual Ocean Awareness Contest, now in its tenth year, has engaged more than 18,000 middle and high schoolers from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries in ocean education and activism through the creative arts. Bow Seat has awarded over $425,000 in scholarships to help advance teens’ creative talents and passion for the environment. Visit for more information about Bow Seat’s programs, educational resources, and collection of student artwork and creative media.

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Bow Seat Announces Student Winners of Global Arts Competition Highlighting Climate Hope

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