Bow Seat Announces Student Winners of Global Environmental Arts Competition That Explores Water’s Connection to Climate Change, Justice, Health, & Culture
November 16, 2021

(Featured Student Artist: “Unusual New Coming” by Roy Kim, 17, California)

(Boston, MA) – Today Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat) announced the winners of the 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest, an international arts competition that engages youth in creatively raising awareness of and inspiring action on environmental issues impacting our blue planet. More than 400 middle and high school students from around the world were recognized with over $90,000 in scholarships for their artistic achievement in the visual and performing arts, writing, film, and multimedia.

The 2021 Contest theme, “Water Rising,” challenged participants to create a piece that highlights our interconnection with water, and that underscores the need to conserve this vital resource. Nearly 6,000 students from 97 countries and 49 U.S. states responded with paintings, poems, songs, documentaries, podcasts, stories, and more that addressed issues such as clean water access , drought and flooding, displacement, food insecurity, and the health and economic impacts of our increasingly polluted and overfished ocean and waterways.

The Gold Award winners of the Senior Division (ages 15-18) are:

  • Art – Roy Kim (California)
  • Creative Writing – Farhan Mohammad (New Jersey)
  • Film – Group members Philip Jayson Lestojas, Kissha Mae Bajamonde, Jesu Rex Salvar, Albert Asistido, Neil Quijano, Mc. Luize Laurence Saral, Maxinne Contreras, and John Ford Abarico (Philippines)
  • Multimedia – Angelina Lyon (California)
  • Performing Arts – Jessica Taylor (North Carolina)
  • Poetry – Yvanna Vien Tica (Philippines)
  • Spoken Word – Alexandria Douglas (Trinidad & Tobago)


The Gold Award winners of the Junior Division (ages 11-14) are:

  • Art – Yeso Kim (China)
  • Creative Writing – Aarushi Ammavajjala (Georgia)
  • Film – Ngọc Thủy Linh Nguyễn (Vietnam)
  • Interactive & Multimedia – Elin Moore (Iowa)
  • Performing Arts – Chloe Kim (South Korea)
  • Poetry & Spoken Word – Diya Mehta (California)
  • Spoken Word – Group members Hannah You and Hannah Choi (Maryland)


Bow Seat also presented ten $750 We All Rise Prize awards in both the Junior and Senior Divisions—a total of 20 awards and $15,000—to Black, Indigenous, or Latine students in the U.S. whose entries demonstrated notable artistic achievement in their chosen category. Launched as part of the 2021 Contest, the new We All Rise Prize is part of Bow Seat’s long-term effort to making a greater investment in youth of color—particularly those who have been the most affected by environmental racism but who have been underrepresented in conservation efforts—and includes the new awards, educational programming that centers the voices of artists of color, and a representative advisory committee.

View, read,and watch all of the 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest winners.

“We were thrilled to engage more students than ever in the Contest’s tenth-year anniversary,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “By expanding our traditional focus on marine environments to include water in its many forms, we made the theme relevant to broader and more diverse groups of youth who may not feel a connection to the ocean, but whose personal stories about water all deserve to be heard.

“What I love about Bow Seat’s Contest is that young people are invited to join a universal effort to advocate for a healthy and sustainable future,” continued Cabot. “Our international student community is now nearly 25,000 strong! Knowing that they are a part of this community strengthens them, inspires them to learn more, and ignites them to take action.”

As part of its programming, Bow Seat expands the reach of student work by featuring their pieces in an online Gallery, and through exhibitions, film screenings, presentations, publications, and social media. This provides special opportunities to showcase the talents of individual artists, while leveraging the power of students’ collective voices to raise awareness of environmental issues among broader communities.

The 2022 Ocean Awareness Contest, “The Funny Thing About Climate Change,” is open now through June 13, 2022, 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 11th year, has engaged more than 24,000 middle and high schoolers from all 50 U.S. states and 133 countries. Bow Seat has awarded over $525,000 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 Environmental Arts Competition That Explores Water’s Connection to Climate Change, Justice, Health, & Culture

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