In 2020 the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) and the Town of Oro Valley partnered to establish a unique project to engage and empower the community. The inaugural Oro Valley Community Photography Competition was established to capture the essence of Oro Valley life, animals, outdoor spaces, and the experience of life within the community.
“We know Oro Valley is an attractive community,” said Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield. “But to see it captured in such a stunning and unique way by these photographers is a testament to community engagement and the arts. These unique opportunities are made possible by our partnership with SAACA, and we are grateful for their creative vision. I would also like to extend a personal thank you to each and every person who photographed the community we love, and entered their photos in the contest.”
The competition garnered over 300 entries from both youth and adult photographers, which profoundly reveal the essence of Oro Valley through the lens of a camera. The collection of photographs transport us to unique landmarks, introduces us to new friends and neighbors, and immerses us in the beauty of nature shown only in the way a camera can.
"These photographs manage to stop you, make you look twice, and feel what the individual taking the picture was feeling in that very moment. The entries have so much soul and richly embody how our surrounding environment impacts our life," said Kate Marquez, Executive Director of the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. "We were honored to promote a project during a time of pandemic that allowed us to connect to the community in such an inspirational and creative way."
Eight local professional photographers and artists scored the Oro Valley Photography Competition entries. Featured judges included Peter Hawkins. Elsa Jacklitch, Steven Pope, William Lesch, Pamela Trachta, Josh Sailor, Rosanna Salonia, Matthew Yates, and Darlene Kryza.
SAACA and the Town of Oro Valley will be partering again to produce the 2022 Oro Valley Community Photography Competition, with entries being submitted beginning in November 2021 through March 2022.