February 26th, 2013

COE Hosts the 6th Annual Area Youth Art Exhibition in Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall took breather from the usual university students on Sunday, February 17th as it was crowded by the local PreK-12 th graders and their families for the 6th Annual Area Youth Art Exhibition. 133 pieces of young student’s artwork, from both public and private schools in Rockingham County, now line the halls.

“I started this event six years ago,” said Dr. Deborah Carrington, a professor in the Elementary Education Program at JMU. “I work with the art teachers in the county at the local schools and ask them to select some work from the children they teach; it’s usually about 5-6 pieces.”

Paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and mixed media pieces chosen by school teachers create a diverse sample of Rockingham County youth art. But, despite the limited admission, this is not a competition. “A lot of people do competitions and have prizes going out to first, second, and third,” said Dr. Carrington. “And that’s not us—this is an open exhibition meaning that I work with teachers to get a wide variety of work from all children they teach—from little babies to special needs children to very accomplished children—and we show all of that, it’s non-competitive.”

Families wandered the halls, pausing to take pictures with their child’s work and to look at the other students’ pieces.  Hannah Hawkins, a 13 year old 7th grader at Elkton Middle School, was surrounded by her a parents and grandparents who came to appreciate her work. “I don’t want too much attention,” admitted Hawkins shyly, “but I’m lucky I got picked. It makes me feel special.”

It was an interesting and uncommon assemblage of students ranging from PreK to college along with teachers, parents, and grandparents. “The bare walls of this institutional environment don’t have much to offer,” said Dr. Carrington, “we’re just turning it into an interactive environment.”

Go check out the art on the first and second floor halls in Memorial, especially if you have class there! You can also click here to see a slide show of the artwork online. 

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