Art Day Celebrates Diverse Cultures, Talents

Kids table AD 16
The second annual poetry competition was held on Art Day (also known as Artist Day, a global day for artistic expression) on Aug. 12.

The afternoon included a barbecue hosted by local company New Castle Remodeling and featured potluck items brought by guests, amazing art in wood provided by Sunland resident Rick Bittle and stunning visual art by local artists Jennifer Zapp and Mina Prieto among others.

Neighborhood children enjoyed an arts table and a hunt for art supplies and other small arts items.
Becky w kids & Art Hunt bags of art supplies AD 16 (4)
Becky Mate, Sunland resident and founder of Art Day and the Art Day Games, hosted and administered the poetry competition at her distinctive home on Apperson Street. The house features a piano keyboard fence, which was decorated for the festivities with colorful rhyming words.

Contestants were challenged to write an original poem on the spot, not to rewrite a poem they had already written. A mug with the slogan “Celebrate Poetic Moments” was displayed, in case inspiration needed sparking.
Silver & Gold w B Mate AD 16
This year, there were contestants playing for the USA, Romania, El Salvador and the Ukraine. Contestants represented the countries where they live, were born, or where a parent was born. Each contestant received a small prize for participating, and those who placed first through third  received a basket filled with various types of art.

The bronze award for the poetry competition of the Art Day Games went to Romania for a poem written by Sunland resident Lucia Moga.

Silver went to the USA for a poem by Sunland resident Ed Yerke-Robins. He commented that he likes writing poetry because “you can corral thoughts and play with language – rhymes, alliteration, rhythm, metaphor – it’s fun!”

Yerke-Robins also said that poetry helps the world by “freeing letters, words and ideas from the bonds of practicality.”
Art Day rhymes on fence
The gold medal was placed around the neck of Tujunga resident Joe DeCenzo, a previous S-T poet laureate who currently runs the fourth Sunday of the month featured and open mic poetry readings at Bolton Hall ( from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“I enjoy learning about myself and exploring the varied perspectives of common life events,” he said of his poetry. “Audience members will occasionally share memories that one of my poems evoked, which is very satisfying. Poetry brings empathy to the world and has imbued the world with insight. A person carries a cherished verse with them as inspiration for life.”

Mate, who currently has two paintings of local S-T scenes on display at the Backdoor Bakery in Sunland as part of the River Rock Arts Colony August show, said, “Each time artists from different countries come together to share their art and writing, the world as a whole draws a little closer to peace. When Mankind celebrates its artists, their cultures shine on us all.”

For more information about Art Day, email Mate at