“The imagination is a powerful tool. An artist can use it to show others the world as he sees it and to bring others into his dream of what the world could be.” — David Becker, artist.
The glass doors to the Alabama Center for the Arts’ gallery open to a world of possibility.
It is a world where owls with green bodies and orange heads perch on limbs, where tree trunks come in green, red, blue, purple and orange, and where a polka-dotted bird wears a top hat, green and white striped leggings and blue shoes.
In the world of art, no rules govern the imagination.
Through March 29, visitors to the arts center on Second Avenue Southeast can step into the imaginations of students, kindergarten through 12th grades.
The 120-piece Youth Art Month exhibit developed by the Carnegie Visual Arts Center features pieces from Decatur City, Morgan County, St. Ann and Cornerstone Christian schools.
“We initially started this as a showcase of our school systems’ support of the arts, a support that seems to be lacking in other places,” said Kathy Silvestri, Carnegie’s marketing and exhibits coordinator.
Under the instruction of teachers, students gave life to their imaginations using crayons, chalk, charcoal, fabric, oil, watercolor, acrylic, ceramic and construction paper.
From Serita Bryant, a fourth-grader at Frances Nungester Elementary, came a rooster made of leaves. From Mallory Turner, a 10th-grader at Austin, came an oversized wedge shoe. From Alayshia Hines, a seventh-grader at Brookhaven, came “Mon Alayshia,” an image of the Mona Lisa’s body topped with a picture of Hines’ head.
The artists found inspiration from the Gee’s Bend Quilters, Mose Tolliver, Ugg Mugs, Carrie Underwood and the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts.
The pieces showcase peace, as in LaKelle Brawley’s “Sadako Saski” sculpture of a woman in a kimono holding an origami crane. They create laughter, as in Kinzey Sullivan’s “Cat” with a blue head, green tail and red body. They reveal beauty of the ordinary, as in Ella McAnear’s “Primary Pieces” photograph of rusted metal.
Art teachers praised the annual juried show held in conjunction with Youth Art Month for cultivating and inspiring young artists.
A sense of accomplishment and acceptance comes from seeing one’s art hung in a gallery, Heather Comenero, art teacher at Brookhaven Middle School, and Carey Key, art specialist at Banks-Caddell and Chestnut Grove Elementary, agreed.
“There is a sense of accomplishment. This is an opportunity for them to experience being exhibited in a public place,” Silvestri said. “The teachers deserve credit for all the work they do.”
Last week, the Rotary Club of Decatur Daybreak judged the pieces and awarded cash prizes to the recipients as part of the club’s YEA Decatur program.
First place: Kenneth Allen, “Reflecting Cityscape,” Woodmeade; Manuel Juan Juan, “Me vs. Me,” Brookhaven; Moses Pressnell “Str8 Chillin,’ ” Decatur.
Second place: Jack Lyons, “Peacock,” Eastwood; Andrew Smith, “Untitled,” Eva; Haley Knable, “Carrie Underwood,” Austin.
Third place: Will Farris, “Triclops Ugly Mug,” Leon Sheffield; Kayaka Kishita, “Light House,” Cedar Ridge; Hannah Clemons, “No Residents,” Decatur.
Honorable mention: Ethan Daniel, “Primary & Secondary Cityscape,” Woodmeade; Alayshia Hines, “Mon Alayshia,” Brookhaven; Nate Hall, “Composure,” Decatur; Dani Jones, “Poppies,” St. Ann’s Catholic; Olivia Hooper, “Zen Heart,” St. Ann’s Catholic; Markus McMuss, “Untitled,” Austin; Daniel Nobbley, “Muddy Sky,” St. Ann’s Catholic; Alex Seguin, “Untitled,” Eva; LaKelle Brawley, “Sadako Sasaki,” Austin.
Along with the Decatur show, the Huntsville Museum of Art’s YAM 2013: Exhibition for Youth Art Month features 185 works by students, grades kindergarten to 12th. In its 26th year, the annual exhibit includes pieces by north Alabama students.
“This exhibition showcases the creativity and imagination of youth in our community. It is important to recognize the value of art education for children and to encourage a lifelong interest in the visual arts,” said Laura Smith, director of education and the museum academy.
Local participating schools include Ardmore, Athens and Decatur High schools, Athens Middle school and Athens, Austinville, Banks-Caddell, Benjamin Davis, Chestnut Grove, Frances Nungester, Creekside and Leon Sheffield elementary schools.
The art will remain on display through April 21.
Catherine Godbey can be reached at 256-340-2441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10th annual Youth Art Month Exhibit
When: Through March 29, Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m.-noon
Where: Alabama Center for the Arts
Cost: Free. For more information visit www.carnegiearts.org.
YAM 2013: Exhibition for Youth Art Month
When: Through April 21
Where: Huntsville Museum of Art, 300 Church St., Huntsville; Sunday, 1-4 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for students, teachers, military and adults ages 55 and older, $5 for children ages 6-11. For more information visit www.hsvmuseum.org.
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