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Nov 10 - Dec 31, 2022

Carl Cherry Center for the Arts


The mission of the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts is to enhance the quality and diversity of artistic, educational and cultural programs in Monterey County by encouraging public programs and interactions between artists and the community. Accordingly, the Cherry Center theater and art gallery provide visibility and support to emerging and established artists, dramatists, writers, educators and musicians. The Center’s exhibits and programs seek to cast light on contemporary issues, both aesthetic and social.

The Big Idea

“Thinking Out Loud” is a poetry and art program dedicated to promoting literacy, creative expression and community awareness of our most critical concern: the lives of Monterey County high school students. Established in 1996 to recognize and promote excellence in high school poets and to develop an interest in creative expression through language, the Monterey County High School Poetry Awards were created as a collateral program to "Thinking Out Loud", the Carl Cherry Center's annual high school art exhibit to help young people make a personal and lasting connection to their communities through art and poetry. The poetry program employs an education model that integrates art and poetry in a place-based curriculum. Through educational services, writing instruction, community readings, visiting poets traveling exhibits, the Monterey County High School Poetry Awards reaches hundreds of young people, grades 10–12, around Monterey County.

The yearly competition directly uplifts the level of seriousness and energy that my students put into their artwork during their time in the classroom labs and studios, and at home! The fact that you offer generous cash awards in your competition, and feature students’ artwork, portraits and artist’s statements on your website, is just icing on the cake! By providing an opportunity for our teen artists to “shine” in a professional gallery setting, you help them to take themselves as artists more seriously, and simultaneously earn increased respect from their families, teachers, administrators, and admissions/scholarship officers at competitive art colleges. The experience of participating in your annual show has a 100% positive effect on my students, and as you uplift them, it encourages them to keep creating more art, and to become lifelong artists! . --- Martha Tompkin, teacher Monterey High School

- Martha Tonkin