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 said.
“It’s very important for kids to express themselves through art — when a child can draw it doesn’t have to be perfect but it’s whatever they’re imagining in their mind, what an object looks like to them from their view,” Swaby said. “That’s something that should be nurtured and developed, if possible.”
Moriah Tyler, the art center’s education and visual arts coordinator, said artwork is a natural activity to support “free play” in children.
“Art rounds you out as humans — it’s important to have science classes, math classes [and] all those fundamentals, but art is a space where you expand on those fundamentals and create something that may or may not have been seen before,” Tyler said. “I think it gets kids out of their comfort zone, which is important for kids as they grow up.”
The annual Youth Art Month exhibit highlights nearly 400 pieces of original artwork by county elementary and middle school students at the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., in Westminster. The show is free and open to the public during regular gallery hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, through May 7.
Supervisor of Fine Arts for Carroll County Public Schools Cristina Gruss organized the show. She defined art exploration as an educational tool that allows young students to learn about the “creative process.”
“We are teaching students how to walk through that process; from problem posed; to problem solved and in that journey, they infuse part of themselves in what’s being produced, so their artistic answer also has meaning to them — it’s solving problems through and with art with personal connections,” Gruss said.
Greg Killian, an art educator at Carrolltowne Elementary, said the show includes drawings, flatwork, painting, clay and ceramics.
“It’s good to get their hands on a lot 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.
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Students showed off their artwork to family and friends during 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.