21st student art show returns to SAMA

Courtesy photo This graphite drawing is by Anthony Pater, Grade 11, Altoona Area HIgh School.

LORETTO — Area students from 24 schools in 10 districts participate in The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art’s 21st annual student art celebration entitled “Artists of the 21st Century” which includes a new family celebration event.

More than 250 student-created works will be featured in the dual exhibition at SAMA-Loretto now through March 23 and at SAMA-Ligonier Valley from Feb. 15 through April 21. Schools in Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Somerset counties will be exhibited at SAMA-Loretto, while schools in Fayette and Westmoreland counties will be featured in the Ligonier Valley exhibition. Each district is permitted to submit up to 25 individual projects and two group projects.

In conjunction with National Youth Art Month, the exhibition is open to schools that participate in SAMA’s Arts-in-Education or Artist-in-Residence program through which SAMA educators and professional artists travel to public and parochial schools to provide lessons designed to enhance students’ understanding of art creation, technique, history, criticism and aesthetics. SAMA’s award-winning education initiative is the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth, according to SAMA Education Coordinator Jessica Campbell.

“Please take the opportunity to visit these exhibitions and view the wonderful student art on display,” Campbell said. “You’ll see faces beaming with joy, proud parents and some truly amazing artwork. I urge everyone to see what arts programming is happening in our local schools and to support your local district and their art program. SAMA is grateful for all the community support this exhibition receives, as well as for the schools that place an emphasis on the arts and for the teachers who have such dedication to their students. Most of all, please join us in acknowledging our area students for their incredible imagination and creativity.”

Each museum will hold an opening reception to celebrate the exhibition and the region’s student artists. The SAMA-Loretto reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 9. SAMA-Ligonier Valley’s reception is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. March 3, with parking at Fort Ligonier only, with free shuttles running to and from the Museum. The receptions are open to the public free of charge, but the Museum suggests a donation of $1 per person in support of the exhibition.

As a new addition to the student art celebration, SAMA-Loretto will host the inaugural Mardi Gras for a Cause family program from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 5 which will include family-themed entertainment that highlights the Museum’s teaching artists.

Among the artists demonstrating their crafts are storyteller Jan Kinney of Altoona, who will bring to life folk tales, Tom McCarty of Munster, a wood carver and folk artist, and other artists will offer demonstrations and hands-on projects for the family-themed event.

Kinney, a professional storyteller since 1990, said the family night offers area residents an opportunity to support student artists and also expose their own children to all that SAMA offers.

“It’s a great idea,” she said. “(family night) offers an opportunity to support young artists and brings their parents in to the museum. Even for parents who don’t have a child in the exhibition, it will be a fun night and makes parents and their children more aware of the museum. Hopefully, the children will grow up with an appreciation of the museum’s collections.”

Kinney has taught in various schools since about 1993 through the artist in residence program through SAMA and her purpose “is to show children that they can tell a story and tell it effectively. If you are human you are a natural storyteller,” she said. “however, I help them and teach them ways to make their story especially good for the listener. To tell oral stories effectively, it takes knowing how to use your voice and move your body.”

For McCarty the family night provides him an opportunity to bring each person’s artistic talent to life.

“It’s very much a hands-on experience,” he said, noting he finds the greatest reward in unleashing a person’s hidden artist. “So many people say they have no artistic ability and I like nothing better than to prove them wrong. I’d much rather have people experience (carving) themselves because it bumps it right into their backyard.”

McCarty is also looking forward to seeing the student displays as he’s worked with students in both wood carving and stained glass and several Cambria County schools.

Additionally, guests also will have an opportunity to bid on artwork from SAMA’s teaching artists through a silent auction. Fans of McCarty’s carved, German Santa Clauses will haven opportunity to own one by participating in the event’s silent auc tion.

Cost is $25 per family, which includes snacks and drinks. Reservations are requested by March 1 by calling (814) 472-3920.

Schools represented in the Loretto exhibition include: Altoona Area High School; Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School; Cambria Heights Elementary School; Forest Hills Elementary and Junior-Senior High schools; Greater Johnstown Elementary School; Penn Cambria Primary, Intermediate, Middle and High schools; Portage Area Elementary School; and St. Michael School.

This project was made possible through the AIE Partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency. State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The PCA Arts-in-Education Partner in this region is the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

Staff writer Patt Keith is at 949-7030.

If you go

What: “Artists of the 21st Century,” 21st annual student art exhibition at SAMA-Loretto and SAMA-Ligonier.

When: SAMA-Loretto from February 1 through March 23 and at SAMA-Ligonier Valley from February 15 through April 21.

New this year: Mardi Gras for a Cause family program from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 5 at SAMA-Loretto. Cost is $25 per family, which includes snacks and drinks. Reservations are requested by March 1 by calling 472-3920.

Hours: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art’s Ligonier Valley and Loretto museums are open to the public free of charge. Hours of operation at SAMA-Ligonier Valley are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. weekends. SAMA-Loretto’s operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, visit www.sama-art.org or contact Jessica Campbell, Education Coordinator, at (814) 472-3920 or jcampbell@sama-art.org.