As Carroll County parent Steven Swaby strolled through the Tavis Room at the Carroll Arts Center Thursday night admiring dozens of original drawings, paintings and sketches created by public school students, he smiled. Children’s imaginations are “a beautiful thing,” he says.
“It’s very important for children to express themselves through art – when a child can draw it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s whatever they imagine in their mind, to what looks like an object from his point of view,” Swaby said. . “It’s something that should be nurtured and developed, if possible.”
Moriah Tyler, the arts center’s education and visual arts coordinator, said art is a natural activity to support “free play” in children.
“Art completes you as human beings – it’s important to have science lessons, math lessons [and] all of those fundamentals, but art is a space where you develop those fundamentals and create something that may or may not have been seen before,” Tyler said. “I think it takes kids out of their comfort zone, which is important for kids as they grow.”
The annual Youth Art Month exhibition highlights nearly 400 original works of art by elementary and middle school students across the county at the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster. The exhibition is free and open to the public during normal gallery hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, until May 7.
Carroll County Public Schools Fine Arts Supervisor Cristina Gruss hosted the show. She defined artistic exploration as an educational tool that allows young students to learn more about the “creative process”.
“We teach students how to follow this process; the problem posed; to the problem solved and in this journey they infuse a part of themselves into what is produced, so their artistic response also has meaning for them – it is about solving problems through and with the art with personal connections,” Gruss said.
Greg Killian, an art teacher at Carrolltowne Elementary, said the exhibit included drawings, dishes, paint, clay and ceramics.
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“It’s good to get your hands on lots of different types of materials, experiment with things, and learn how to use different materials in different ways,” said Killian, who helped Guss organize the annual event.
Students showed their works to family and friends at receptions on Tuesday and Thursday.
For more information about the exhibit, contact the Carroll County Arts Council at 410-848-7272 or email info@CarrollCountyArtsCouncil.org.