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Youth Art Month at Quinlan honors areas young talent
Sarah Beth Little’s "Father of Music" is one of the pieces on display now at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center. Little is a senior at Lakeview Academy.

Youth Art Month

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through March 29
Where: Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville
How much: Free
More info: 770-536-2575

The Youth Art Month exhibit, which opened Wednesday at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, brings an array of artwork with a "pure" point of view to the Quinlan’s walls, said director Amanda Kroll.

"They’re unfettered by putting in anything that they might have learned," said Kroll. "You know, when you go to college or you’re a professional artist, your motivation for creating is slightly different, and because they’re really under no real pressure, they just kind of create from a very pure standpoint."

The event, which is celebrated nationally, invites area art teachers to choose exceptional students from middle and high schools to have their work displayed and compete for prizes and scholarships, which are provided by the Kiwanis Club.

For sophomores in high school and older, scholarships will be awarded to best in show, first-, second- and third-place winners.

Kroll said the show has been at the Quinlan for about 10 years.

"It’s really a fun show. These kids are really talented," said Paula Linder, Kroll’s assistant at the Quinlan.

Kroll, who has been at the center for five years, said she’s seen some students who have displayed their pieces for Youth Art Month over the years grow up before her eyes.

"I was looking at one artist that’s a senior now, and in my head I was saying, ‘Wait, she’s only in middle school,’ but that was years ago," Kroll said. "So, we really do watch them grow up on our walls."

She said she also has noticed a pattern with some brothers and sisters who have exhibited their work for Youth Art Month.

"I also notice some that have artistic talent kind of running in their family. I see a family kind of trait sometimes, and it’s very interesting," said Kroll.

"Art is so personal, it’s intensely personal. And these kids really just sort of crack themselves open and put it on the wall — what it’s like to be a teenager. It’s really powerful."

Kroll said the exhibit is filled with artwork in every medium you can think of — and some you might not.

"We have everything from ceramics and clay, we have some other interesting sculptural materials like wire sculpture, some other 3-D kind of found objects kind of thing, wax," she said. "They’re using all kinds of different things that you don’t often see. We have paintings, there’s portraits, there’s still lifes. It’s very advanced, because these are really the best students putting their best foot forward."

A reception and award presentation for the Youth Art Month exhibit will be held March 29 at the Quinlan.