Art that is often reserved for the refrigerator door received special treatment in October at Madison [Wis.] Christian Community.
The MCC, a partnership of Advent Lutheran Church and Community of Hope United Church of Christ, hosted its first "Emerging Artist" exhibit. MCC has gallery space that is regularly used by artists from the church and the community, but this was the first showing of new works by young artists.
Nearly 30 artists from the congregations showed their work during the exhibit. Their ages ranged from 2 to 16, and the visual media ranged from tempera paints to cardboard, from photography to sculpture to textile weavings.
Advent member Wendy Stewart, who organized the show, also produced a program for the exhibit that included the artists' names, ages and comments about their work.
The three-week showing was kicked off with a Saturday night opening reception with the artists, complete with punch and cookies. The artists wore special badges, so viewers could easily identify them and ask questions about the art.
"Many of the artists began the evening appearing self-conscious, never having been to an art opening before, much less their own," Stewart said. "And by the end of the night they could be seen escorting a cross generation of visitors to their work, with free flowing and unsolicited explanations."
Stewart said that one of her goals in organizing the exhibit "was for our community to witness — on a very personal level — facets and talents of our young people, often not expressively obvious in our more common interactions with them. Reading the artists' comments about their work revealed yet another dimension about their work and of them as people."
Feedback for the show was very positive, and some have asked that it become an annual event. "People have expressed their delight at the life and color the works bring to the space, the awe of how many artists we have, and surprise at the previously hidden talents," Stewart said.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers