Youth artists featured in the exhibit include, top, Elliot Fay, 3rd grade, Hernandez Elementary; above left, Nik Holbrook, Crossroads Transitional; and above right, Willow Mueller, 5th grade, Bowie Elementary.
Photos provided by SMCISD
SMCISD Youth Art Month display at Walker's Gallery
As bluebonnets and other wildflowers carpet the Hill Country and beyond, the first week following Spring Break is resplendent with numerous art events. Seasonally poetic, March is designated as National Youth Art Month — time to celebrate ‘budding’ artists. The public is invited to visit the San Marcos Activity Center where this year’s YAM exhibit is on display in the Walkers’ Gallery. All 10 of the SMCISD schools have artwork on display, as well as the Crossroads Transitional Program. Also included are works from the Wonderland School, whose art teacher is Debangana Banerjee.
The public reception for this year’s exhibit will take place Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with musical and theatrical performances by community youth ensembles. The exhibit will remain on display through March 24.
Initiated in 1961 as Children’s Art Month by the Art & Creative Materials Institute to highlight the essential importance of art at the elementary level, it’s scope was expanded in 1969 to include secondary schools, henceforth being called Youth Art Month.
In 1984, the art institute created a non-profit visual arts education advocacy organization, council for Art Education and they became the national coordinators for YAM as well as visual arts advocacy programs throughout the year. Texas has been a leader in YAM activities and events since it began, with the Texas Art Education Association has taken a leading role at the state level.
For more than three decades YAM has been well celebrated with exhibits and events at the San Marcos High School —until fairly recently, art was only taught as an elective at the middle and high school levels. Students could actually graduate without ever having had the opportunity to experiment with art.
In the early ‘90s, in response to growing enthusiasm to bring art into the elementary level as well, a small group of parents established an advocacy group, Public Support for Art in the Schools. Building on the YAM success model, Public Support of Art in the Schools volunteers worked with teachers at all levels to display what art was being created in elementary classrooms as well as in the mid and secondary art classes. Public awareness was created by displaying the selected art throughout the downtown, inside some venues and on the windows of businesses that were eager to participate. Individual and groups of young musicians were scheduled to perform and poets to read their work as part of a Saturday Art Walk through downtown.
In 1997, with the opening of the San Marcos Activity Center, the YAM celebration and display of art and performances have become part of the Walkers’ Gallery annual schedule each March.