Although often overshadowed by the excitement of sports, the arts get their own official chance to shine during the annual Youth Art Month (YAM) in March, a time dedicated to promoting art and art education across the United States.
Art museums nationwide participate in YAM.
Art teacher Patricia Kelly is allowed to enter a certain number of student pieces every year (this year three), so she asked sophomore Sophie Naylor and seventh grader Casey Vasquez to submit one each.
Naylor’s watercolor piece, entitled “The Swimmer,” was chosen to be featured on the flier advertising the event. It was one of more than 40 student pieces accepted, which can range from paintings to 3-D art.
Naylor’s and Vasquez’s works are currently featured in the Education Center of the Crocker Art Museum (216 O St.). The YAM exhibit opened on March 2, and the official reception is on Sunday, March 12, from 1-2:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the California Art Education Association (CAEA).
According to Naylor, there were only two pieces she had done this school year that she believed were strong enough to enter.
One was an abstract picture of three houses, painted with black watercolor on a warm and brightly dyed background.
The latter, a watercolor piece of a girl swimming underwater in a pool, was ultimately the one she submitted.
Kelly planned to enter another of Naylor’s pieces, but only one piece per student was allowed.
Naylor said that she and Kelly decided on “The Swimmer” because it was “modern, refreshing and interesting.”
“I select work based on high quality and excellent skill,” Kelly said.
“Sophie’s piece was exceptional.”
Before Kelly encouraged her to enter, Naylor didn’t know about YAM or the exhibit opportunity. The two didn’t talk about the exhibit after submission until Kelly told Naylor that her painting was the one featured on the flier.
“I’ve never had my art in an exhibit before, so I’m pretty excited to see what it’s like,” Naylor said.
“It will be fun to see my work in a sophisticated environment like the Crocker and to also see all of the other entries.”
YAM was founded in 1961 by the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) in cooperation with the National Art Education Association.
Kelly said that it has been a while since Country Day has participated.
Some students that she can recall who participated in the past are senior Quin LaComb when he was in middle school and former student Soren (previously known as Elena) Lipman.
Kelly annually pays $105 to be a member of NAEA/CAEA (the National Art Education Association/California Art Education Association), which a teacher must be a part of in order to submit work. Teachers who add student pieces to the exhibit are reimbursed.
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work done by the event organizers in conjunction with the Crocker, along with lots of paperwork, Kelly said.
Although the show can be visited until it closes on Sunday, April 2, those coming on March 12 (and bringing the attached flier) will be admitted for free.
—By Mohini Rye