Stateline Story

Young Artists Mark California's Changing of the Guard

According to California schoolchildren, the same things that have historically drawn more people to the Golden State than to any other part of the country will propel it into the 21st Century - the Pacific Ocean, dreams of fame, and a diverse culture and landscape. 

Artwork that incorporates those images was assembled into a mosaic and used as a decoration at California Gov. Gray Davis' inaugural events. The "Millennium Mosaic", a compellation of 21 works of art by school kids throughout the state, was also printed on commemorative t-shirts and banners.

"We received several outstanding examples of artwork that exemplified the spirit and diversity of California as it approaches the new millennium," First Lady Sharon Davis told stateline.org. "The choices the California Inaugural Committee and I made (in selecting what went into the mosaic) best reflect the imagination and talent of California's young artists."

Three of the students involved in the project received special recognition for their outstanding depiction of California's rich history and culture and were flown to Sacramento to attend Davis' inauguration.

One of them, 16-year-old Adam Dryden, a student at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, led the pledge of allegiance at Gray's swearing-in ceremony.

Dryden's artwork is the centerpiece of the "Millennium Mosaic," which now hangs in the meeting room at Gray's office in Sacramento. His watercolor looks like a Redwood tree, but is actually a depiction of California's history.

The trunk of the tree is etched with a face of a Native American. Intertwined in the leaves and branches are a scene from Yosemite National Park, a California 49er digging for gold, Asian Americans working on the railroad, a picture of a mission, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign on the Los Angeles skyline, Olympic rings and a picture of Ronald Reagan.

At the very top of the tree is a rendition of the Space Shuttle taking off, symbolizing the promise of the future.

The 21 students who contributed to the mosaic will be invited to Sacramento to see their artwork hanging in the governor's office, a staff member in Davis' Office of Special Projects said.