Inspired by their rich cultural heritage, young Latino artists have created a colorful array of crayon drawings and watercolor paintings that captured top honors in the eighth annual Hispanic Heritage Art Contest.
The 24 artworks pay homage to Latino contributions to the sciences in an exhibit titled "The Hispanic Gateway to the Final Frontier" now on display at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Exposition Park.
More than 300 students in grades one through six entered this year's contest. The students were asked to illustrate an example of a concept, adaptation or technological development that originated with people of Latino origin.
The young artists came up with everything from constellations mapped by the Maya Indians to portraits of Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.
In a short essay accompanying a crayon drawing, Jonathan de la Rosa, a sixth-grader at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary in East Los Angeles, said: "The (Mayan) builders made temples and different things to explore. They explored the stars, sun and the moon. They had to measure, draw and count to build their temples to study space."
Students participating in the contest represented schools in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Entries were judged on theme, originality and quality of expression by a panel of local Southern California Latino artists.
The contest is sponsored by the McDonald's Operator's Assn. of Southern California and the California Museum of Science and Industry.
The California Museum of Science and Industry in Exposition Park, 700 State Drive, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. On exhibit until Jan. 3. (213) 744-7400.