Young creatives, take note! Submissions for the Arkansas Arts Center's 56th Young Arkansas Artists exhibition will open Dec. 1, which means you've got one month to gather your best works—or create some new ones. The juried show is open to all Arkansas students in grades K-12, including those currently being homeschooled. There are no restrictions on medium; in past years, the show has included everything from pencil drawings and paintings to mixed media and collage. Subject matter is similarly unrestricted (since any such limitation could interfere with one of art's primary functions—creative expression). The only rule is that the work must fit inside a one-cubic-yard area.
The Arts Center works closely with art teachers in schools statewide to organize the submission process, which allows each art teacher to select one artwork per grade for consideration and submit them online between Dec. 1 and Feb. 24; last year's exhibition brought in 525 entries from across the state. Homeschool parents who want to submit their students' works should contact the Arts Center for instruction.
Once the submission period closes, a jury of art professionals will choose the works that will appear in the exhibition, held annually in the spring and summer. Eight works from each grade—deemed to be the eight best works, regardless of subject or medium—will be selected for exhibition. While making it into the show is a huge honor, there are further awards to be won. The grand juror (last year, it was Tom Clifton, art department chair and professor of illustration and drawing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock) will select one Best of Class and two Honorable Mentions from each grade; beyond that are Best in Show awards for painting and watercolor and one "Teacher's Choice Award" per grade level, selected by current Arkansas Art Educators Association members. That means that if your child happens to favor watercolors, he or she could win four total awards for the same work: Best in Class, best painting and watercolor, and Teacher's Choice. That's a lot of prestige for a budding artist to rack up!
For more information about the exhibition and submissions process, visit the Arkansas Arts Center website or contact your child's art teacher. In the meantime, enjoy this mini gallery of works from last year's exhibition:
- Miland Jaracz, Kindergarten, Theodore Jones Elementary School, Conway
- Hadassah Persson, 3rd grade, Art Techniques for Tots to Teens, Sherwood
- Taniah Kilgore, 4th grade, Yocum Elementary School, El Dorado
- Hannah Baker, 8th grade, Greenwood Junior High School
- Natalie Childress, 10th grade, Beebe High School
- Bailey McKinney, 12th grade, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock