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Everyone at the Portland Museum of Art is proud to welcome the annual Youth Art Month exhibition—which features more than 90 works of art by K-12 students from across the state of Maine—back to its galleries for the 23rd year. The exhibition is up through April 2, and in the short time that it's been on view, many visitors—children, adults, students, and educators—have mentioned how much they enjoy the art on display and how inspired they are by the talent and vision of the next generation of Maine artists.
This year’s iteration of the annual exhibition immediately follows the successful completion of the PMA’s multiyear Your Museum, Reimagined project, which was unveiled to the public on Friday, February 3, with a Grand Reopening enjoyed by more than 2700 visitors in just four hours. Youth Art Month dovetails perfectly with the goals of Your Museum, Reimagined to bring a wide, diverse array of community voices into the museum and add to the stories the PMA can tell.
The Youth Art Month exhibition also gives families from all over the state of Maine an opportunity to travel to the PMA and explore the museum-wide gallery reinstallation as part of Your Museum, Reimagined. The new PMA is more welcome to all-ages audiences than ever before, with kid-friendly installations such as Modern Menagerie, multimedia stations throughout the galleries, interactive spaces such as The Workshop and The Study, and a new Family-level membership that encourages art exploration as part of childhood development and the family experience.
Youth Art Month emphasizes Maine’s educational institutions and how they help mold the next generations of the state’s artists. The PMA and the Maine Art Education Association have collaborated on this exhibition for more than 20 years. While Youth Art Month provides significant encouragement to students and well-deserved recognition for educators, the exhibition is for more than just the participating students and their families and teachers—it is for the entire community to discover the emerging voices of Maine’s youth and to recognize the immense value of arts education in our schools.
All participating students will receive certificates of recognition at an exhibition reception, which is on Saturday, March 11, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event caps off a PMA Family Day called “Making Together,” which goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes art-making activities, gallery games, and more. Artists featured in the Youth Art Month and their families get into the PMA for free on March 11. Children ages 14 and under always get into the PMA for free.
ABOUT NATIONAL YOUTH ART MONTH
National Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art education and to encourage public support for quality school art programs. Art education provides students with important critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, in addition to fostering self-esteem, self-discipline, and an appreciation for the work of others. Youth Art Month has been observed nationally since 1961, and on the state level, sponsored by the Maine Art Education Association since 1980.
Images from top:
Grace Connelly, Grade 11, Collage, Silvia Rivera (detail), Deering High School. Teacher: Audrey Rolfe
Cameron Littlehale, Grade 12, Rock Fish (detail), C-Print, Medomak Valley High School. Teacher: Brook Holand
Saif Al Taai, Grade 5, Elements of Art….. Lion (detail); Art Stix, Colored Pencils, Markers; Westbrook Middle School. Teacher: Nancy Goan
Louisa, a Portland resident, has worked in museum and arts education for 10 years. She believes in the transformative power of art and that everyone has something to teach and has something to learn. When designing and implementing programs, she aims to use art as a vehicle to encourage empathy and social bridging, and to foster deep, intergenerational communication. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, she enjoys honing her own artistic practice, and spending time outside with her husband Nick and baby daughter, Colette.