WORCESTER – 660 Main Street in Worcester was the place to be last Wednesday night for teenagers with an interest in art.
“TEEN Night” at Arts Worcester was in full swing, with over 60 teens and tweens from throughout the city in attendance. Designed to engage our studentcommunity with our art community, Arts Worcester has partnered with Worcester Public Schools, and other creative programs, to spark interest and dialogue between established artists, and those at the very beginning of their journey.
“I came last year, and I wanted to come and see the different changes in the work” said Beatrice Waithaka, a Freshman at Burncoat High School. “It’s great to see the different art styles and how the artists use their medium”.
Beatrice and her peers took over the Aurora Gallery, with open viewing of the current exhibit by three artists; Fruit of Heaven by Aula Alauoubi, All Together Now by Susan Swinand, and The Return by John Hayes-Nikas, who spoke about his work to the group, and answered questions in a one-on-one format with several students. Tables were set with sketch paper and drawing supplies. There was music, food, pizza, and unlike a traditional opening, there was a fully engaged, hands-on, relaxing vibe in the room, that seemed to show art as serving a greater purpose than merely hanging on a wall.
In galleries and museums across the country, a lot of emphasis has been placed on ensuring young people are not only welcomed, but encouraged to be a part of their creative community. As guests very casually walked and talked across Main Street to see Lizzie Fortin speak about her work on display in The Hadley Gallery, this idea of creative, cultural, youth engagement was never more evident.
As the city of Worcester changes, so does the art that’s made here. Art is fundamental to a vibrant, educated, and diverse city like Worcester. It shapes and enriches our individual lives, while enhancing surrounding civic development. Where it happens, how it happens, and why it happens are all part of a unique dialogue for social good. Does all art need to be experienced in a formal, museum tour environment? No. Can you sketch, eat, go back and forth across he street, and still have an enriching creative experience? From what I saw, YES!
Introducing this new, interactive way of encouraging our teens to be a part of their local art community, to ask questions, to start a dialogue with established artists that communicates the importance of pursuing your passion, plays an increasingly important role in the future of art as a vocation.
Periodically bringing teens together from across our different neighborhoods and school districts, supports the belief of Arts Worcester, that art is for everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, and that it’s here to be seen, understood, and enjoyed. “As the program continues to grow, it’s important that our teens know it isn’t going away” said Juliet Feibel, Executive Director of Arts Worcester, which has several more TEEN Night events scheduled through 2018. “Arts Worcester is committed to bringing our teen artists into the galleries on a regular basis, and to our partnerships with the schools in doing that.”
Teen Night at Arts Worcester is an ongoing series, open to all students and their families, and FREE to all attending. Upcoming event dates can be found on the Arts Worcester website at www.artsworcester.org
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Darcy Schwartz, "Miss Darcy" as she is known to her students, is the founder of ArtReach, a woman owned, artist-owned, working art studio founded on the premise that developmentally appropriate, creative activities can serve as launching points for artistic exploration and expression at any age.A printmaker, an illustrator, and a writer, Darcy holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and an MFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York, where she completed a certificate program in art therapy. Darcy is a member of the NAEA (National Art Educators Association), and SCBI (The Society of Children's Book Illustrators), as well as many other community and philanthropic organizations.For more information on Darcy, her studio, her work, her writing, please see the bio on her website, www.artreachstudioafs.com