HRAC spins reception for art of the youth
In honor of national Youth Art Month, the Hammond Regional Arts Center is hosting their annual Young Artists Exhibition.
The exhibition opened Friday, Mar. 10 and will be on display through Mar. 31.
“Young Artist Month is celebrated nationally every March,” said Executive Director of HRAC Katherine Marquette. “That’s why we like to have this exhibition in March in conjunction with those national celebrations, and we honor all of the talented artists that we have here in this community. This show has gone on for years. It predates me by years and years. I can’t give you an exact number of years, but decades for sure.”
K-12 teachers from Tangipahoa Parish were given a quota of students to select to have their artwork displayed.
“It was a class that I got to take that I wasn’t very interested in at first, but then as I started taking it, I got more interested in art,” said Esbon Perry, an eighth grade student whose art was selected. “I got chosen out of 10 kids out of my class and was able to be put in the art center in Hammond. It’s exciting. You don’t really understand how good it is to have your picture in an art museum.”
Marquette got her start in art when she was featured in the Young Artists Exhibition at HRAC when she was in high school.
“Well, this exhibition is super, super important to me personally because it’s actually how I found out about the Hammond Regional Arts Center,” said Marquette. “I was a student that had a piece of artwork displayed here at the Hammond Regional Arts Center when I was in high school. I was a high school student in Baton Rouge and having my work on display at the Hammond Regional Arts Center totally changed the trajectory of my life. I went to college to study art. I got a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree and now it’s like I’ve come full circle. It’s a wonderful end to that story now that I’m the executive director at the place where I had my first piece of artwork displayed.”
The exhibition has a variety of art that displayed a variety of perspectives.
“It’s wonderful,” said Ryan Reeve, the mother of an artist. “I was just talking with my husband. There’s so many diverse topics and pictures so many different medias that they utilize. It’s just amazing to see. Nothing makes you feel the way that art is gonna make you feel. I didn’t pursue art as my career, but I still love to do it. There is no fear when producing something beautiful. It has so much emotion in it.”
This exhibition is different from others being that the artwork is not for sale.
“Usually, it’s part of our mission that we support, promote and coordinate visual, performing and literary arts in Tangipahoa Parish and the surrounding parishes,” said Marquette. “Typically, those exhibitions that we put on are professional exhibitions. So, they’re professional working artists, the work that’s on display at The Hammond Regional Arts Center is usually always for sale. Obviously, this is a little bit different. These are young, talented up and comers. So, they’re not necessarily professional, but also the work is not for sale.”
Marquette hopes this exhibition can enlighten people to the importance of art and creativity in schools.
“Especially, right now while art education in the classroom is something that’s unfortunately being chipped away at,” said Marquette. “I think it’s really, really important that we shed a light, and have a window into what’s going on in the classrooms and what our art educators are doing for the students in this area and obviously it’s so important to promote and support what those kids are doing in terms of becoming young artists.”
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