Thursday evening, area children will showcase fine art, music and performing art at the Hotel Bothwell during the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri National Fine Art Exhibit.
Club Communication Coordinator Emily Jarrett said the contest is sponsored by Boys & Girls Club of America with local Clubs each hosting an exhibit.
“Those winners get sent off to regional,” she added while at Smithton Elementary School last Friday. “Then, those top winners go to the national awards. Those, they actually bring them to all of the conferences. I went to a national conference (in Chicago) in October and it was really cool to see these amazing artworks by all these kids.”
Jarrett said the children love to see their artwork displayed. The Club mats each two-dimensional piece and gets it ready for the exhibit that includes art from all 11 Club sites. The evening is made special by being hosted in the upstairs ballroom at the Hotel Bothwell, which has been decorated for Christmas.
Ages for the exhibit are kindergarten through 12th grade.
“But, the bulk of our kids are elementary age,” Jarrett said.
On Friday, the local Club’s National Fine Art Exhibit Coordinator and Smithton School Site Manager Judy Moore was busy teaching children a song and helping them with their art. Moore said Cole Camp Site Manager Tara Walker also helps coordinate the exhibit.
“Tara has helped me for years,” Moore said.
“Judy likes to bring art into the club everyday,” Jarrett added. “Her philosophy is kids might only get to go to art class in school once a week, but at the Club they can do it every day. If that’s their passion. A lot of our creative kids love that about Boys & Girls Club because it’s fun.”
Jarrett added that the Smithton School site is one of the larger sites in the outlying area. Parkview and Skyline Elementary schools in Sedalia host about 100 members each in their after-school program.
This year there are more than 100 art entries for the exhibit.
“It’s quite a few, and it’s different mediums,” Jarrett said. “It’s painting, drawing, and I believe photography.”
Moore added that performance and music art would be included in the evening’s show.
“The kids here have been practicing a song that they are going to sing and have been signing for,” Moore noted. “They are going to do that first.”
On Friday, the children were practicing Andy Grammer’s song “Keep Your Head Up,” using both words and American Sign Language, in the Smithton School gymnasium.
“They find a fun song, a kid appropriate song, then they learn the signs to it,” Jarrett added. “They will have a performance of this at the exhibit and also our Beat Makers will have a performance too.”
Moore has taken the lead in making sure children have a variety of art opportunities in the area schools.
“Because funding in the schools, especially for the little ones, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for them to have much art,” she said. “Especially exposure to different mediums like watercolors and multimedia collage. So, I think it’s really important for after school programs to present that.”
Moore enjoys teaching children how to create art, but she also sees the need to teach them about well-known, historic artists. Recently, she has been talking to members about classic impressionist artists. After learning about the artist, the children then create art using the artist’s style.
“We talked about (Henri) Matisse the other day, and why Matisse went from painting to basically inventing collage,” she said. “He was in a wheelchair, and he couldn’t reach the easel any more, and he had to come up with a different medium.”
Moore has also taught the children about Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
“Then, for music, actually the kids came up to me and said ‘how come you haven’t taught us a song to sign this year?’” Moore added. “They have come to depend on that. They don’t get that in school. They probably know eight different songs in sign language, that’s just something we do.”
The Club has been providing the local art contest for several years.
“We have some amazingly talented kids, as you go up higher and high in the echelon,” Moore noted. “… It’s turned into an event where we’ve brought parents in to participate and to see that there is more to art then just visual art.”
Children from the downtown Club will also be on hand to sing for the event Thursday.
“There’s a little girl from Green Ridge who’s going to play the piano,” Moore added.
The Boys & Girls Club National Fine Art Exhibit will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs ballroom of Hotel Bothwell, 103 E. Fourth St. There will be refreshments; the public and family is invited. The event is free.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.