Youth Arts Festival draws in more students

Youth Arts Festival

JOSEPH — Maria Weer was new to directing the Wallowa Valley Art Council’s annual Youth Arts Festival last year. While the full-day event can certainly be considered a success, Weer said there are a couple things she learned to make this year’s festival even better.

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“I found that we unintentionally excluded some populations when we invited students to participate,” Weer said. “This year we reached out to our homeschoolers and the Seventh-day Adventist School. Before, we just sent the information home with students at (the public) schools.”

Weer said the arts council was more active on social media this year, encouraging area youths to participate.

Submitted art will be judged in multiple groups: special needs, kindergarten through first grade, second through third grade, fourth through sixth grade, middle school and high school. The pieces will be judged for first- and second-place winners in the following categories:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Mixed Media/2-D Collage
  • Sculpture/Woodworking
  • Photography / Printmaking
  • Fiber Art/Ceramics/Jewelry

All other participants will receive a third-place ribbon. The student artists will also be given a chance to put their piece up for sale.

“Last year, Wallowa Mountain Medical bought some student work for their lobby,” Weer said. “That’s another nice way to recognize the students.”

Weer said the event brought in about 350 pieces last year, and she hopes the broader reach will lead to more submitted pieces this year.

“I know it’s a busy time,” she said. “The (Joseph) playground build is that same week, so I don’t know how many more we’ll get.”

In addition to increasing the number of pieces on display, Weer hopes the WVAC can
improve the quality of the display.

The council began accepting submissions earlier than usual, and Weer said she had already received several pieces more than a week in advance.

“We want to have everything properly matted and ready to display in advance,” she said. “We can’t do that all Friday morning.”

The Youth Arts Festival will include a few stations for children to create crafts throughout the day, including a handcrafted “Thank you” item.

“We wanted every one of the 700 playground volunteers to have something from the kids to show our appreciation,” Weer said.

This year’s festival will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 at the Joseph Community Center.

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