Young artists in spotlight

A local art gallery is gearing up for an annual art show — one that members say is rewarding for everyone involved.

The Riverside Art Center’s fifth annual Children’s Art Exhibit is currently being set up, and the opening reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 19, and a member says its one of the Riverside Art Center’s favorite shows of the year.

“When the kids come in, a lot of them come to a dead stop at the door and their eyes get really big and their mouths fall open,” Riverside Art Center member Pam Knoch said. “It is very rewarding for us to watch them in awe of all the art from just kids. It is such a rewarding experience for them as well as us. They are inspiring young artists. It is our favorite show of the year.”

Children from pre-kindergarten to seventh-grade are eligible to participate in this show each year, and art teachers from Wapakoneta, St. Marys, Celina, Botkins, New Knoxville, Minster and New Bremen can submit approximately 30 pieces of their students’ art to the show.

“We encourage the kids at a young age to enjoy creating art,” Riverside Art Center Gallery Director Anna Fisher said. “It lets them be proud of being an artist and creating something original.”

Fisher remarked this is a place where the young artists can shine.

“It gives them a boost of confidence,” Fisher said of when the children see their artwork in the gallery. “Their little faces light up and they walk a little taller.”

During the opening reception, or when the children see their artwork in the gallery for the first time, Fisher said they often get their picture taken with it, and all family member enjoy the work too.

“It’s a good show to see,” Fisher said. “It’s very uplifting.”

This show is not juried, and all students who have their artwork in the gallery will receive a certificate of participation.

Each year is different with the type of art submitted, but two-dimensional artworks, such as paintings, drawings and pastels will be submitted, along with a few clay and wood 3-dimensional pieces.

“Every year it’s more and more fun to see what they’ve created,” Fisher said.

Two things that strike Fisher each year during this show are the colors of each artwork and the projects the art teachers assign.

“I love the colors they use,” Fisher said. “They are always exuberant colors that grab your eyes. I also love the way the art teacher has a project and each child has a slightly different adaptation.”

The young artists create their own interpretation of the assignment, and Fisher notes that is what real artists do.

“It encourages future artists,” Fisher said of the show. “It’s one of our favorites and its a very important focus of the Riverside Art Center’s mission.”