BUCKHANNON – Artist Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
For the second year in a row, folks in the area have the opportunity to celebrate these artists at the second annual Youth Art Exhibit.
This celebration of young artists is at the Colonial Theatre Gallery and will open at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 3. The celebration will continue with this free exhibit being open from 4 to 8 p.m. on April 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24.
Buckhannon-Upshur High School Art Teacher Heidi Thompson, who is the coordinator for the Youth Art Exhibit, said most schools in Upshur County will be participating in the exhibition.
“We will have a wide variety of participation,” Thompson said. “This year has been very difficult and challenging, but we want to make this an annual event. It is still very important to showcase the talent of our students.”
Thompson said there will be a variety of two- and three-dimensional art pieces, encompassing paintings, pottery, drawings and prints utilizing a wide variety of media and techniques.
“This year, we should have 80 or 90 pieces on display,” Thompson said. “The gallery will be full and will be manned by volunteers that are art teachers, volunteers for ART26201 and some of the art students who are seniors and are pursuing art at a college level.”
Thompson said ART26201 has played a very important role in providing arts opportunities for the community.
“They are managing the gallery space,” she said. “The space is an important part of our school system and the community because it provides a formal space where the public can come and view art. Because it is free, it makes art accessible for those in the community and to students. I feel this is a great thing for Buckhannon.”
Thompson said she encourages students, parents and community members to come out and see the Youth Art Exhibit.
“The artwork from our students is great,” Thompson said. “It is also a great way to celebrate the past year. Even though it has been difficult, we have a visual product showing we have been able to persevere, and we have been able to be inspired and to inspire our students to be creative and to create artwork. As students and teachers, this is a great way to speed into spring with this great showcase of their achievements.”
Thompson said she feels it is important for the community to understand how fortunate students are to have art education in every school because that is not the case in all counties.
“Often times, it is one of the first things to be put on the chopping block,” she said. “There are counties around us where art is not offered. I feel like it is important to keep reminding people this is something we want to maintain. Let’s keep it as an important part of our school and our community.”
She said in Upshur County, art education is available in the schools for students in grades K through 12, and she wants to thank people for supporting that.
“Unfortunately, in other times and other places, art has been viewed as disposable,” Thompson said. “For some of our students, that is where they excel. It is their outlet and that is their space and their place to be unique and their place to be creative and have a voice.”
ART26201 is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ‘celebrate and promote the creative and inspirational opportunities in the Buckhannon community.’ For more information about ART26201 projects and ways to provide financial support, email info@ART26201.com or visit their website at www.ART26201.com.