“Can you imagine a world without art?” is a question the Lagrange Art Museum hopes to never have to ask, or answer.
Thanks to the foresight of artist Morrill Turner Hutchinson, art students across the region will once again have the opportunity to participate in the Creative Youth Art League, now in its 20th year.
Started in 1993 by Hutchinson as an outreach program for high school art students in Troup County and the surrounding areas, the CYAL opening reception will take place this year on April 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the LaGrange Art Museum. Works will be on display through May 3.
Sponsored by Interface, LaGrange Pediatrics and State Farm Insurance, Imagine the World Without Art will be Presented by the Kiwanis Club of LaGrange, merging two long standing student art exhibitions which have both historically been held in the spring.
The leaders of the LaGrange Art Museum and Kiwanis began discussions in 2011 about the positive synergy that could come from one, stronger exhibit. Area art teachers were often challenged with trying to participate in both exhibits during a short time frame. Pooling volunteer and monetary resources also figured prominently in the decision.
In 2013, the two area youth art exhibits merged for the first time. This kindergarten through 12th grade juried exhibit showcased work by students – public and private – throughout a five-county area.
Over 500 guests attended the 2013 opening reception, where they were able to see over 300 art pieces submitted by students. During the week of exhibition, an additional 200 guests visited LaGrange Art Museum to see the students’ work.
The success of the 2013 CYAL exhibition prompted the museum to expand its CYAL exhibit space. This year, middle and elementary student submissions will be on display in the Center for Creative Learning (CCL). High school student submissions will be hung in the museum, for the first time alongside works purchased by the art museum through selections made during the LaGrange National juried exhibition.
The LaGrange National Biennial is a juried competition open to all artists in the United States. The Lamar Dodd Art Center and the LaGrange Art Museum are the sponsors, with major support from the Callaway Foundation.
“This exhibit is one of the few left in the country that is open to artists across the United States, and brings to the region of West Georgia a very exciting exhibit of currents in contemporary art,” said John Lawrence, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Art of LaGrange College.
More than 300 artists from 42 states plus the District of Columbia applied for participation in the National this year, and 115 works were selected by juror Annette Cone-Skelton from over 1,100 submissions from some of the finest new works by professional artists from throughout the country.
“We think that the juxtaposition of works by high school upper classman with works by emerging artists in the museum’s permanent collection will be inspiring to our young artists and will provide them something to aspire to … wouldn’t every artist like to have their work purchased by a Museum?” said Karen Anne Briggs, executive director of the LaGrange Art Museum.
“The Kiwanis Club and the LaGrange Art Museum will continue to encourage young artists and stand up for the importance of art education in our schools,” said Joyce Ellis-Johnson, president of Kiwanis LaGrange Chapter. “With the talent our young people possess, we never have to imagine the world without art.”
Elementary, middle and high school art teachers in Troup County’s public and private schools will select art for the exhibit. The counties within the service area of the LaGrange Art Museum – Heard, Meriwether, Harris and Chambers County, Ala. - will submit art from middle and high schools – private, public and home-schooled.
Participating students will have the chance to be awarded either the Wates Keller Award, presented annually by the Kiwanis Club of LaGrange, or the Morrill T. Hutchinson Best of Show Award.
Call for entries were sent to area art teachers in December.
Anyone seeking more information may contact the LaGrange Art Museum at 706-882-3267.