By Gemma Aronchick

Creativity is in full force for the BGCA Club Tech Digital Arts Festival 2011

Excitement was in the air at the Microsoft store on a warm Denver morning last week. Members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, their chaperones and BGCA staff, along with a number of supporters from Comcast and Microsoft, gathered to honor these young adults as national winners in the Club Tech 2011 Digital Arts Festival. The Club members had traveled from near - the other side of Denver - and far - Iwakuni, Japan - to show off their creativity and works of digital art.

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Club members and chaperones explore a Surface table at the Microsoft store during the Digital Arts Festival Celebration

The winners, who are Club members ranging in age from 13 to 18, had a chance to show off their works of art from music to animation, photo design, and short film.

As the projects were shown, I was very impressed not only by the creativity and talent but by the precision and effort that went into the design and composition. When the winning animation entry played, the clip was short, cute and funny. The short film winners were starting to blur the lines between gaming promotions, motion picture trailers, and home movies – pretty terrific. In fact, when the first winning musical entry was played, I truly thought to myself that this work is commercial quality. Then the Club member who crafted the second winning entry jumped up from his seat, took the microphone and started to sing and dance with his music in the background. He seemed unaware that he wasn’t actually on stage at Madison Square Garden, by he whipped the audience into a frenzy and had everybody on their feet, clapping, swaying and answering his call-backs. This kid surely won’t be an unknown artist for long with his combination of talent and charisma.

In addition to the celebrations the kids experienced a job shadow activity with the wonderful employees at the Microsoft store in Denver. Jasper and his team did a terrific job leading them through real work scenarios that they encounter at the store every day, and the kids enjoyed learning more about what happens on the other side of the technology from where they create their artwork. When they had finished with their ‘work’ at the store, they were on their way to lunch and a job experience at the local Comcast office.

Our team at Microsoft has had the pleasure of hosting quite a few of these Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals over the last few years, and I can honestly say that this year’s winning Club members have really kicked it up a notch. Their creativity, use of technology and vision about their future and their artwork is amazing. It’s truly inspiring to see the next generation of young people engaging with the technology they use in a creative, positive and fun way that will surely take them far in their Club, their careers and beyond. Cheers to all the national, regional, and local Digital Arts Festival winners and entrants for 2011. Keep up the great work!

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The 2011 Digital Arts festival national winners.

Gemma Aronchick works in Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship team.