Bealart Grad Wins!

Paula Rayo

We recently ran into on of our Grads from a few years back an was able to catch up on what she was doing with herself. Turns out she is Canada’s Best Young Artist! Here’s what Paula had to say….


I want to share how I was able to win Canada’s best young artist this past year:

200 contestants ranging from ages 16-19 across all of Canada entered the contest. The first phase was to submit an art piece into the contest. The second phase was to get as many people as possible to vote for your art piece on their website. The 12 people that received the most votes would have a chance to display their art at the National Gallery of Canada for an entire month. So I was one of the top 12 and from those pieces that were displayed, various judges across Canada came to determine who would win first, second and third place. They chose my piece as number one, as Canada’s best young artist.

They flew me out to Ottawa and I spent two nights and one day there. Upon my arrival, they gave me a few gifts, including a gift certificate for art supplies to further my art career. Then they gave me a “behind-the-scenes” tour, which allowed me to see how the entire gallery works and where and how they store and conserve the art. They took me into various vaults, some which were as cold as a freezer to conserve the art properly. I saw from ancient to contemporary pieces including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sketches, sculptures, etc.

One of my favourite things that I saw was some of the group of seven’s sketchbooks. It was quite messy but I loved it. It was not just a book, it was more like scraps put together very neatly placed in a box to conserve it. They also showed me all the techniques and technology they use to store the art. One machine detects the drawing behind the paint in a painting. It takes around 350 very knowledgeable employees to run the gallery. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures in the vaults.

Then I was able to see the Van Gogh show and it was incredible! To be able to see so many of his original pieces all at once was amazing.

Finally, the best prize that I received was a portfolio review with the gallery’s curator, Jonathan Shaughnessy. It was such a privilege and amazing opportunity to be able to speak to him. He gave me a lot of helpful insight and advice for my future art career.

Overall, it was just one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I feel really lucky to have gotten the opportunity.

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