Local Student Brings Hope To Beaches
• Local student will have artwork displayed on every L.A. County beach from Malibu to Long Beach.
Montemalaga School third grader Dagny Tang has won the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches & Harbor’s annual “Can The Trash” Clean Beach art contest for 2022.
The Palos Verdes Estates resident’s drawing, which was selected by the County Board of Supervisors, will be published this summer on the thousands of trash cans that dot the coastline from Long Beach to Malibu, including local RAT and Peninsula beaches.
The following is an Question and Answer email exchange with Dagny Tang and her father Tim Tang.
Questions for Dagny:
What’s your previous experience with art? Have you spent a lot of your free time making art? Is it something you enjoy?
Dagny: My hobby is creating art and my favorite school subject is art. I always spend my free time drawing or crafting. Last year during the pandemic I was the 2021 Grand Prize winner of the prestigious NASA Langley Student Art Contest.
How did you find out about this competition? What made you want to enter your drawing into it?
Dagny: I actually saw the County’s art contest ad on a lifeguard stand when I was walking along the Strand in Torrance Beach with my family two years ago. At that time, I was in second grade and not yet eligible to enter. But I already decided then that I would enter this contest as soon as I got into third grade.]
Why do you feel the issue of clean beaches is important? Is it something that’s particularly important to you?
Dagny: My family and I live close to the ocean and can see the South Bay beaches from our home. We also spend a lot of time at RAT beach. My Dad always takes us to pick up sea glass and we also pick up marine debris at the same time to throw away. We want to keep the beach in our hometown clean.
Many lazy people leave their trash on the beach instead of finding a trash can. The trash gets pick up by waves and get into the ocean causing pollution and many marine animals die or lose their home. It is important to keep the beach clean by picking up trash and throwing it away in a trash can.
A good way to tell other people that it is important keep the beach clean is by putting posters that remind them of ocean pollution because most people don’t want to hurt the Earth’s marine animals.
Questions for Mr. Tang:
What are your overall thoughts about Dagny’s art entry and victory?
Mr. Tang: When Dagny first showed me her rough sketch with the off-center layout, I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but after she filled in the details and then the arching slogan text, it all came out surprisingly well-balanced and made a lot of sense.
I’m very proud of my daughter and her art. She is entirely self-taught and draws entirely in her own style and according to her whims.
As for the contest victory, I heard there were over 2000 entries for this year’s contest and to be selected by the County Board of Supervisors and come out as the overall winner was really special.
In what ways are you proud of Dagny?
Mr. Tang: I’m really proud that Dagny has discovered her love of and talent in art & crafts and is self-motivated in making the most of it. I’m proud her drawing will become public art and seen by lots and lots of people. Besides being recognized at the county level, Dagny and her art contest win is going to be recognized by Palos Verdes Estates Mayor Victoria Lozzi at our city’s upcoming June 14th City Council meeting. It’s good to get this kind of support from our hometown.
Why do you think clean beaches are important, especially going into the summer?
Mr. Tang: Summer time is when the beaches see the most amount of visitors, and as a result the most amount of trash. It’s important people are made aware of the damage that trash does to the environment. Like the beloved and endangered sea turtles choking on plastic bags because they think it’s their favorite food, jellyfish. When people know about this, they’re more likely to put trash where it belongs - in the trash cans.
Could you briefly explain the art competition and why it is significant?
Mr. Tang: Every year Los Angeles County, Department of Beaches and Harbors, holds an educational “Can The Trash!” art contest open to third - fifth graders going to school in L.A. County to design “environmentally themed” posters focused on reducing ocean pollution and to remind beach-goers to put trash into trash cans.
It is one of the County’s biggest art competitions at the elementary level as they have a lot of school/district participation, resulting in thousands of entries.
The winner’s artwork becomes “public art” that appears on thousands of trash cans along the L.A. County coastline and will potentially be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, not just Californians but visitors from around the world.