Isaac Babus, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, won best in show in the 2021 Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Art Scholarship Competition. The Scholarship Foundation awarded 22 student artists a college scholarship for the 2021-22 school year.
The competition is open each year for high school seniors in southern Santa Barbara county.
Judges Anthony Askew and Patti Jacquemain chose the best portfolios Thursday out of 47 submissions. All 22 winners received a $2,500 scholarship, and Isaac won an additional $1,000.
He entered three photos from a photojournalism project inspired by Humans of New York.
He photographed and interviewed homeless people, a spur-of-the-moment decision he made on his way to Goleta Beach. He enjoyed it so much, he came back and intends to keep collecting stories.
“Homeless aren’t homeless. They have homes,” he told the News-Press. “It’s just not like what anyone would define a typical home as, but they still have one. It’s just a very different world.”
One day, a fire sparked while he was interviewing people at an encampment. He took photos and enjoyed capturing the emotions.
“I decided to just (submit) my photojournalism, which was something that I got into last summer, when I photographed, a student-led Black Lives Matter protest. And that sparked an interest for me because I enjoyed being a part of that history in the making, and like actively being the one taking it,” he said.
He began taking photos when he was a child, borrowing his father’s camera for fun. Eventually, his love for art merged with his photography.
He won honorable mention in a drawing contest earlier in high school, but this scholarship is his first large award.
“I used to be more into drawing, which I still do a lot, and I enjoy it, but I guess I’ve started selling more in photography, so I’m just pushing forward with that,” he said.
He is considering studying art in college, but he is nervous about the potential financial issues he could face.
He submitted his portfolio in his college applications, and all five colleges he applied to accepted him.
Now, he has to choose what school his $3,500 scholarship will help fund.
The other art scholarship winners this year are: Vanessa Antova (San Marcos High School), Mariah Brunasso (Dos Pueblos High School), Juan Castillo (Dos Pueblos High School), Sophia Curtin (Dos Pueblos High School), Kaili Falk (Dos Pueblos High School), Ryan Fitch (Dos Pueblos High School), Eli Garcia (Dos Pueblos High School), Victoria Hernandez (Dos Pueblos High School), Robert Kriz (Dos Pueblos High School), Adriana Lagunas (Carpinteria High School), Sarahi Larios Cruz (Dos Pueblos High School), Rachel Lin (Dos Pueblos High School), Anahy Navarro (Dos Pueblos High School), Fionna Pennington (San Marcos High School), Isha Prajapati (Dos Pueblos High School), Meiya Sidney (San Marcos High School), Mila Speer (Santa Barbara High School), Keola Venegas (San Marcos High School), Sophia Webster (Laguna Blanca School), Claire Whicker (Dos Pueblos High School), and Ryan Wiedermann (Dos Pueblos High School).
“Under normal circumstances, we would hold the competition at the Ridley-Tree Education Center and host a reception for the winners at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art the following week. We worked hard to adapt to the current moment, and are proud to recognize these talented young artists,” said Barbara Robertson, Scholarship Foundation president and CEO in a news release.
The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has awarded almost $130 million to over 53,000 Santa Barbara county students since its inception in 1962. It also advises students on financial aid decisions. To learn more, go to sbscholarship.org.