For a few years now we have been doing Youth art shows at BelmarArts. Lots of good reasons for this. All organizations need new blood now and then if they are going to survive. And anyone who works with children, or has some, knows that they very much like making art. Skills and knowledge vary, but the desire is there, and they enjoy the process. Some are even surprisingly creative. Probably the biggest obstacle for young artists is finding places to show art, or even learning how to go about finding exhibition opportunities.
At BelmarArts we can't solve every problem, but we can help with this one. We tend to enlist the help of people with more experience. The organizers of this year's Youth show are Amy Lepping and Kristen Lanfrank, two teachers out of the Rumson area. They in turn got help from many other school teachers. All of the artists in this show are from 5th grade through high school, chosen up to 6 at a time by their various school teachers. This is an opportunity for those teachers to get to know each other, but most important is a chance for potential artists to learn what it's like to be part of a show outside their school, as well as learn a little bit about what artists need to do outside an academic setting. The 8 year range of ages provides further mixing for the young artists. Most of the approximately 50 artists are from the Monmouth County area, though a few are from further parts of the state, another way they get to interact.
This year's exhibition theme is "From My Perspective" and like all good themes, it allows for many possibilities. There are a lot of self portraits, probably not surprising in a group show that includes the "selfie" generation. However, there are many other subjects and other interpretations of the perspectives. As is typical, there are paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, sculptures, mixed media pieces, etc.
Tonight was the official opening reception for the show. Early on attendance was sparse, as can happen when most of the participants have never been to the Boatworks before. Some computerized directions still believe we are located in the middle of the route 35 overpass over the Shark River inlet. But the participants started arriving. People came and went, but through most of the event we had 40-50 people present.
Award winners for this exhibition were chosen by our Trustees. Here are the award winning pieces for this year and the artists who created them:
Monmouth Regional High School
Canvas Studio Art
Rumson Fair Haven