Western Carolina University will celebrate the artwork of regional schoolchildren with the 2011 Jackson County Youth Art Month exhibit, from Monday, March 14, through Monday, April 11, in the lobby of WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center.
A reception will be held from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 10, in the Star Lobby (just outside WCU’s Fine Art Museum, also in the Fine and Performing Arts Center). An announcement of prizewinners will be at 1:30 p.m. in FAPAC Room 130. More than 75 awards are given each year, with approximately 500 people attending the reception. The event is free and the public is invited.
For more than 35 years, WCU has hosted Youth Art Month, an annual and national observance that emphasizes the value of art education for all children and encourages public support for quality school art programs. Each year, more than 3,000 viewers come to appreciate work by students in kindergarten through 12th grade, selected by school art teachers for exhibition, said Erin Tapley, event organizer and associate professor of art education in WCU’s School of Art and Design, part of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. WCU Art Education Club students select work for awards, with some winning work included in the permanent Youth Art Month collection housed in WCU’s Killian Building and lent to the Jackson County Board of Education on a rotating basis.
“The focus of Youth Art Month is to convey the message that art education develops self-esteem, visual literacy and an ability to produce meaningful material form,” Tapley said. “Jackson County is fortunate to have an art teacher in each of its public schools who educates students in the history and aesthetics of art-making and gives them opportunities to critically analyze the meaning of art in their daily lives,” Tapley said.
Participating schools and their art teachers are Smoky Mountain High School, Gayle Woody and Ben Cook; Scotts Creek School, Barbara Wilkes; Cullowhee Valley School, Penelope Adams; Fairview School, Leah Ayling; School of Alternatives, or Hub, Kansas Heiskell; Smokey Mountain Elementary School, Jenniffer Dall; Blue Ridge School, John Speier; Summit Charter School, Leslie Rosenberg; and Mountain Discovery School, Corky Ashcroft.
Event sponsors include the Jackson County Arts Council and WCU’s Art Education Club, School of Art and Design, and College of Education and Allied Professions.