The Carroll Arts Center was buzzing with activity as students brought their families to see their art, which was displayed in a riot of color from floor to ceiling in two of the galleries.

Though the reception on Thursday was more juice and cookies than wine and cheese, the Carroll County Arts Council was no less excited to host the young artists.


Visual Arts Coordinator Susan Williamson said the exhibit is “a real testament to public school art teachers,” with whom she collaborates to put the works on display.

“It’s done with such joy,” she said. “Everyone who walks in here is amazed at the creativity of the students.”

Youth Art Month, recognized each March, is celebrated in Carroll by putting students’ art on display for the public to see. From the exuberance of kindergarten drawings to the detailed precision of a senior studio artist’s painting, the work varies greatly.

Middle and elementary school students’ work is displayed at the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main Street, Westminster during gallery hours until March 26. A second reception will be held Tuesday, March 19 from 5-7 p.m.

High School work can be viewed at Carroll Community College in the Langdon Family Gallery until March 30.

The opening reception for two gallery shows at Carroll County Community College is slated for Friday, Feb. 15.

“I relinquish most of my usual curatorial duties in favor of having teachers choose the work they feel best represents the abilities of their students and aim to showcase a variety of projects from grades 9-12,” said Curator of Collections and Exhibits Jessi Hardesty.

“It is definitely very encouraging and rewarding for everyone involved; the students, the teachers, and those who get to enjoy the works while they are on display at Carroll,” she said. “For students who are as of yet unsure about their art capabilities, this can be the boost they need to see how well they’re doing and decide to pursue study in the arts at the collegiate level. For teachers, it is a wonderful way to showcase their hard work in instruction as well as reflect upon their many successful students and their journeys.”

Century High School senior Katie Richard has one piece on display that is an oil painting, a medium she finds really relaxing. The other, a fantastical self-portrait of herself surrounded by swimming fish rendered in colored pencil, was a new challenge for her skills.

Every day after school, she brought it home to work on outside of class until she was happy with the finished piece, she said.

“It’s just really cool to see my art in a gallery and be surrounded by everyone else’s talent,” she said of seeing it on display for Youth Art Month.

During the reception for the gallery show, and when others pointed out her piece, “You’d have this little sense of excitement, ‘Oh someone’s looking at my art,’” she said. “I’m really glad I got to be a part of it.”

Her art teacher, Frank Reaver, remembers his own Youth Art Month experience when he was a student at Westminster High School.

On Oct. 2, Frank Reaver will appear on the Food Network’s “Halloween Wars: Hayride of Horror,” pitting his talent with the carving knife against other Halloween enthusiasts.

“It’s a memory that I have and that many, many years later that I still can think about and have a fond memory of,” he said.

He hopes that will be true for his students as well.


“I feel like it’s one of the few opportunities where students not only get to see their art work on display, but they get to [view work by] students at other high schools,” he said.

Meeting other artists is a chance to broaden their perspectives and find inspiration through the work others are creating, a skill that will carry beyond high school, he said.

Reaver looks forward to Youth Art Month every year, he said, and sees it as a chance to recognize the hard work his students put toward developing a skill

At the middle and elementary reception, many students were proud to show their work to their families.

Fourth-grader Lily Hansel, of Winfield Elementary created a Sharpie line drawing with watercolor elements, and was “very happy” when she got to see it on the wall of the Arts Center. It was the first time she had drawn with Sharpies, she said.

Michelle Porter, an art educator at Sandymount Elementary, was at the opening taking photos of her students’ works, which spanned a bunch of different projects throughout the year.

Seeing their work displayed does make a difference to her students, she said, especially those that aren’t yet feeling self-assured.

“It gives them a confidence boost,” she said.

Michaela Brown, who visited with her family, said she felt “very good and proud” to get to show them her work.

The East Middle School eighth-grader was working with aluminum foil etching for the first time.

“At first it was difficult to get the shape that we wanted,” she said. But she ended up liking the project.