57th annual Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition opens—one Warren student earned a Best of Class and an AAE Teachers’ Choice
Story and photos by Deborah Horn
The Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition is a moment for children to shine and for parents to take pride. The annual exhibit, which accepts works from students around the state, was started in 1961 and continues to be one of the Arkansas Arts Center’s (AAC) most popular events.
This year, it is being held in AAC’s Alice Pratt Brown Atrium and Sam Strauss Sr. Gallery in downtown Little Rock, and admission is free to the public. The exhibit, which runs through Sunday, July 22, showcases the artwork of Arkansas students from kindergarten through 12th grade. This year, students from 121 different schools entered a total of 492 pieces, says Maria Davison, Arts Center communication manager. A jury comprised of art professionals selected 104 pieces from 63 different schools for this year’s showing, Davison says.
From each grade level a guest juror selected one Best of Class and two Honorable Mentions.
This year, Sawyer Thomas, a first grader at Hardin Elementary School in Redfield, earned a spot for “Funny Fish,” and Natalie Watson, a first grader at Hugh Goodwin Academy for the Arts in El Dorado, took an AAE Teachers’ Choice award for “All About Cats.”
Sophia Clark, Haven Gathright, Ethen Harris, Spencer Kelley, Morgan Minchew, Will Newton, Maggie Plummer, Ryan Polk and Charlee Riley, all second graders at the Hugh Goodwin Academy for the Arts in El Dorado, earned a spot for their group project titled “Bird’s Eye View.”
Lex Blevins, a third grader at Harmony Grove Schools in Camden, earned a spot with “Mr. Moose,” and Rachel Delane Cooley, a third grader at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, earned a spot with “Bait.”
Aubreonna Radford, a fourth grader at Harmony Grove School in Camden, earned a spot for “Rex and the Volcano,” and Kelby Robertson, a fourth grader at Brunson School in Warren, took Best of Class and an AAE Teachers’ Choice award for “Kobe.”
Stormey Barker, a sixth grader at Washington Middle School in El Dorado, took an Honorable Mention for “The Hollow One.”
Daniela Perez, a seventh grader at Barton Junior High School in El Dorado, took an Honorable Mention for “Hanging Lanterns.”
Dillon McCool, an eighth grader at Star City Middle School in Star City, earned a spot for “Self Portrait,” and Julia Tran, an eighth grader at Harmony Grove High School in Camden, earned a spot for “Peek-a-boo.”
Each winner’s school receives a monetary prize to help fund its arts program, and after closing at the Arts Center in Little Rock, the Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition travels to schools and other venues around the state as part of the Arts Center’s Touring Programs, Davison says.
The Arkansas Arts Center is located at 9th and Commerce in downtown Little Rock, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (501) 372-4000 or go to: arkansasartscenter.org.