Children's Arts Festival a big success

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri would like to extend a warm thank you to the residents of this community, and the communities of Southeast Missouri, for helping to make the 2012 Children's Arts Festival such a success.

The arts council galleries experienced an all-time high in attendance at the First Friday opening reception for the event, where more than 1,000 school-aged children and their families convened to celebrate the successes and accomplishments of the featured young artists. Thanks to our generous food sponsors Chick-fil-A and McDonald's, visitors' bellies were filled and all had a great time.

The Children's Arts Festival was established in 2000 and, over the years, has evolved to showcase many different aspects of the arts in our area. Supplements to the annual juried children's visual art exhibit have ranged from musical and performance-based arts to this year's inclusion of poetry written about Vincent van Gogh's famous "Starry Night."

For the 2012 Children's Arts Festival, more than 20 art educators from schools located in Southeast Missouri participated, and the walls of the arts council galleries display an estimated 300 pieces of artwork. Each family who attended the event received a commemorative booklet with color images of the top eight pieces from all participating grade levels. Special acknowledgment goes to Red Letter Communications, whose helpful staff has designed and coordinated production of these booklets for the past four years.

Following the success of the First Friday reception, various members of the arts council graciously volunteered their time to attend Citizens Day at the Legislature in Jefferson City, Mo. This is a special day where people are invited to meet their state legislators and is also an opportunity for the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri to pair 16 legislators with artwork by young artists from their districts. Pieces of art presented to legislators will hang in their offices in Jefferson City for the next year until Citizens Day 2013. Eustis Studios generously provided framing services for all 16 pieces selected for this event.

This year more than 50 family members traveled to Jefferson City to accompany the young artists. They met and took photos with their legislators and had the chance to see where their artwork would hang. A special thank you goes to each of the legislators, and their office staff, who took time out of their busy schedules to meet and coordinate photos with each artist. It was a day to remember for all who participated.

If you haven't yet had a chance to see what the arts council looks like during the Children's Arts Festival, I would encourage you to come and visit us before the display is taken down at the end of February. The bright colors of these pieces are sure to cheer up any gloomy February day. Our gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other participating sponsors that we would like to acknowledge include: Macy's, The Evening Optimist Club, First Missouri State Bank, Wood and Huston Bank, Ken Pemberton of Edward Jones and the Missouri Arts Council.

Murielle Wyman is the executive director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri.

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