(Iliana Sierra, Palm Springs Unified School District Student)
Palm Springs, CA
The association of architecture as a work of art has never been stronger in the desert, especially after 15-year-old Iliana Sierra took top honors for her architectural model at the recent Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) High School Art Competition Show sponsored by the Desert Art Center.
The Palm Springs High School sophomore earned first in the sculpture category with her midcentury modern creation complete with intricate walking paths, a swimming pool, and a garage. Sierra’s model was on display at the Desert Art Center along with the models from five other students whose work was honored, including Angel Ortiz of Desert Hot Springs High School (2nd), Zikia Perevitss of Desert Hot Springs High School (3rd), and Natalina Session of Palm Springs High School (honorable mention).
(Iliana Sierra’s Art Design)
As part of her first-place finish, Sierra will show and sell her artwork at the Desert Art Center for one year and receive mentoring from a professional artist.
Sierra participated in the models program, Building Educational Architectural Models (BEAM), which is produced and underwritten by Palm Springs Modern Committee and its Education Committee. Students learn about Desert Modern architecture, Palm Springs’ unique Modern architectural history, leaders, and landmarks, and how to build scale architectural models based on what they’ve learned, seen, and toured.
The program ranges in length, usually between 5-10 weeks, and has been involved in several middle schools and Palm Springs High School in PSUSD over the past four years. Students are encouraged to work with donated art and construction supplies, found or reclaimed household items, and to look for creative applications of the scale and materiality of their models and materials. Donors and sponsors include Blick Art Supplies Review, Modern Home Design Showroom, Sean Lockyer Studio AR&D Architects, and the Smaby Family Foundation.
In addition to the student awards, the DAC recognized the PSUSD art departments with financial rewards based on the judging of 50 submitted student art pieces. Palm Springs High School received first place and a $5,000 reward, followed by Mt. San Jacinto High School ($2,500), Rancho Mirage High School ($1,000), Cathedral City High School($500), and Desert Hot Springs High School ($500).