Grand Prize

Congratulations to Diane Joo and Christina Pesavento, ’10 alums of City Year Miami! Their piece, “Cathedral Building” is the grand prize winner of the Art of Idealism art competition!

This painting is based on the City Year Founding Story Cathedral Building. Diane is currently abroad in Korea while Christina is serving as a Project Leader of Civic Engagement with City Year Miami. We caught up with Christina to learn more about their award winning artwork:

Q: What was the inspiration behind this piece?

Christina: Last year City Year Miami hosted a corporate breakfast and we were gifting one of the speakers who came to the event. The development staff asked me and my friend Diane to paint a picture that had to do with the theme of the lunch, which was the Catherdral Building Founding Story.

We brainstormed ideas for how it would look and I came up with the initial sketch of having people working on building something in reality and having a reflection of what they were building be in the water, because I wanted to capture how in the story people are building something that they may never see the results of, but they have an idea in their mind of what it will one day look like.

Q: How did you work together on it?

Christina: I prefer drawing over painting, and Diane prefers painting to drawing, so I drew the piece and Diane painted it. It really was like putting it together like the cathedral – making it into the final piece.

Q: What does the Cathedral Building Founding Story mean to you?

Christina: It definitely is one of my favorite founding stories because it is something that has inspired me throughout my last two years with City Year. When you’re down in the trenches in the schools, you’re part of a larger movement, but you don’t usually see or feel that on a day to day basis. It is helpful to go back and remember that this is going to take a long time and a lot more people. There were a lot of people before me and a lot of people will come after me, and it will all come together in the end in helping reduce the dropout crisis.

Congratulations to Diane, who will be attending medical school, and Christina, who will be attending Law school at American University this fall!

Posted in Founding Stories


Congratulations to Brandon Mclaughlin and Kristan Bate, corps members serving in City Year LA at The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools! Their piece, “A Ripple” is the overal runner up of the Art of Idealism art competition!

Based on the City Year Founding Story Ripples, this artwork has a special place in the hearts of these two corps members. We caught up with them to learn more about their piece:

Q: What inspired you to create this piece?

Brandon: My inspiration for this piece was my school. Because I serve at The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools I am reminded daily of the legacy he has left. When I enter school everyday I pass by ‘Inspiration Park’, and read the ripples quote. I thought it was fitting to create a piece of art in his honor.

Q: How did you work together on it?

Kristan: We worked well, with good collaboration. We both started at separate sides of the page and let it come together as one beautiful piece of art.

Q: How did you teach your students the ripples story?

Kristan: A lot of the students are very aware of RFK, who he is, and what he stood for. Reading them the quote (which is displayed in front of the school) further inspired them to create their own artwork that stood for something they could believe in and relate to.

Q: What does the ripples quote mean to you? How do you apply it to your service?

Brandon: To me the ripples quote demonstrates the value of the golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. Although it takes it a step further and talks about stepping up for those mistreated by others. When you stand up for values like equality the message is strong and people feel it.

Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation. . . .It is from numberless diverse acts of courage . . . [and] … belief that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

– Robert F. Kennedy, Day of Affirmation Address
University of Capetown
Capetown, South Africa
June 6, 1966

Congratulations again to Brandon and Kristan! Check in with us tomorrow as we announce the grand prize winner!

Posted in Founding Stories

Announcing the #ArtofIdealism Winners

The Art of Idealism art competition has come to a close. The votes have been counted, the final judging has taken place, and below, you can see all 24 winners!

Since launching the competition, we received about 400 pieces from all corners of the City Year community, and the Art of Idealism website has been visited more than 90,000 times. Through the 7,000 individual votes, the public selected 75 finalists, and from that group, a judging panel selected the 1 winner for each story you see below.

All members of the City Year community are represented below. Among the winners we have 9 corps members, 5 staff members, 7 alumni, 1 student and many friends and supporters.

Tomorrow we will announce the overall runner-up and on Wednesday we will announce the grand prize winner, who will be the proud new owner of a Kindle Fire! Stay tuned and congratulations to the winners!

Thank you to everyone who submitted artwork, casted votes, or helped spread the word about the competition! Your artwork will bring our Founding Stories to life in a soon-to-be published Founding Stories book that will be available for purchase. 

Posted in Founding Stories

The Judging is Complete!

After receiving over 350 submissions, the votes have been tallied, the judges panel made their final decisions and we will be posting the winners right here on Monday the 16th. Check in then to see if your favorites won!

Thank you to everyone who submitted art and made this new book possible, we are so excited to present the winners to you!

Posted in Founding Stories

Time To Vote!

The time has finally come to cast your votes for the Art of Idealism! Every story will have its own finalists, so make sure to vote for each story. Simply click an icon below, find your favorite piece of art, and cast a vote for it! After you’ve voted, be sure to share with your friends and family and have them vote too.

Thank you and best of luck to everyone that entered. Happy voting!





Posted in Founding Stories

Last Week

We are nearing the end of our Art of Idealism art competition and we can’t wait to see what this week brings! We’ve already got over 100 entries and we know a lot more are on their way. So get those last entries in before midnight on March 25. The next day, starting at noon, we will open up the public voting for the finalists. Thanks for participating!

Below is a selection of recent additions, make sure to get yours in!

Posted in Uncategorized


There are only about three weeks left to submit your artwork! Thanks to the generous support of several organizations we’re excited to announce several great new prizes:

  • Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet, a set of 24 Copic Markers and a $25 gift certificate to Artist & Craftsman Supply
  • Runner Up winner will receive a Kindle, an 8-pack of Golden Artist Heavy Body Acrylic paints and Golden Artist painted t-shirt
  • All 24 founding stories winners selected will receive starter paint kits (acrylic or watercolor) from Artist & Craftsman Supply, one Copic sketch marker, stationary/gift set from Bob’s Your Uncle, $10 gift cards to and a package of City Year promotional items.

Runner-Up: 8-pack of Golden Artist Heavy Body Acrylic paints and Golden Artist painted t-shirt

Every winner will receive an acrylic or watercolor set from Artist & Craftsman Supply

Read below for more details and be sure to submit soon!

Posted in Founding Stories