Five years ago, as Arlene Barry settled into her new position as a full-time librarian at the Arbutus Library, she began brainstorming ways to reach out to local schools.
“I see the library as building a relationship with students and adults to spur more creativity,” Barry said. “And from that creativity comes an interest in reading.”
The fastest way to connect with those creative students, she thought, would be to showcase their artwork. So the Wintertide Art Show, now in its fifth year, was born.
The Wintertide Art Show is a monthlong art display that opens with a reception on Feb. 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is expected to feature more than 100 works of art from nine schools that serve the Arbutus area, Barry said.
The schools featured include Arbutus, Relay and Halethorpe Elementary Schools, Arbutus Middle School and Lansdowne High School. Four private schools — Our Lady of Victory, Lamb of God, Holy Nativity and Maiden Choice — will also participate.
“We wanted to make sure we included all of our service schools,” Barry said. “We feel the library needs to make sure that we are reaching everyone.”
Judy Kersse, an art teacher at Lamb of God School, said the event offers an opportunity “to show off a little bit of the kids who really work hard at my school. It gives them a little punch in the arm of, you’re doing a great job.”
Kersse said one of the more difficult things is deciding which artwork to bring to the library — praising the students whose work is chosen without making other students feel left out. She said she often pulls kids aside to tell them.
“They give you that big grin,” she said. “They’re just excited, you can see it in their eyes.”
Barry said that the Feb. 27 reception, a free event featuring light refreshments, often draws many of the young artists and their parents.
“They are just over the moon,” Barry said. “And so are their parents, so are their grandparents, their nieces and nephews, their aunts and uncles.”
Children whose work is displayed receive a certificate for participating in the gallery, she said.
After the reception, the students’ work will be displayed in the Arbutus Library until March 26.