“Seeing your paintings actually hung on a wall for the first time (is such a) fantastic experience…” – Student Artist.
This week I was thrilled to view the new art show on display in Patrician Hall on South Park St. in the new Cambridge Youth Art Gallery, sponsored by the Cambridge Youth Commission and the Village of Cambridge. The show was the brainchild of resident Naomi Marsh, who perceived the great need to have a space and place to display the wonderful art work being done by our youth. If you’ve ever visited the school on a night when they are displaying their art done in school, you know what she means.
As Naomi recalls: “This initiative came to pass from an initial desire on my part to merge the possibilities of the Youth Center space with my perception that young artists have few, if any, venues to exhibit their work in a way that validates them as “real” artists. Factoring in youth as capable of making decisions and envisioning possibilities was also a critical aspect of my thinking. Once the Youth Center became operational, embracing the concept of youth involvement, the art gallery took on more substance. I got the support of the Village Board to pursue the idea of creating a youth art gallery to be housed in the Center. Informal conversations confirmed that the gallery was an exciting possibility.
I started nosing around for someone in high school to facilitate with me, based on the notion of youth-driven decision-making and concept development. I found Rebekah McGill through pure serendipity and she set about recruiting what we call the “gallery posse.” Once that came together, we maneuvered around school schedules.”
They met several times and came up with the following parameters for artists to be involved: students ages 14 – 20; all young artists, regardless of school; and an initial show title of “Pride and Joy.” They modeled the opening after the same standards as adult art shows, to give the students the same sense of honor and ownership.
The long-range hope is for the gallery to be active year-round so the art of our local youth can be continually on display, which would be such a huge asset for residents and visitors alike. Like the Main St. Banners which Hubbard Hall, the Village and CCS did two years ago, such a continual gallery would send the message that we honor our youth and their art – and that Cambridge is a hotspot for creativity and community. Planning is in the early phase to have shows for other age groups, for solo artists and to reach new audiences.
The artists in the show include: Rain Erin O’Brien, Leah Jaffe, Rebekah McGill, Catherine Lynip, Charlotte Butz, Emmalee Murphy, Alexas Betts, Bella Dill, Madeleine Flint, Lexus Marquis.
The work on display is extraordinarily beautiful, detailed, and compelling. I was so struck by the students’ use of color, shape and perspective – and by the humanity in each piece. They are already displaying great insights and inspiration. I urge you to see the show while it lasts. Go see it!
The show runs through April 6 and is open Tuesdays-Fridays 3:30-5:30 and Saturdays 11 am-2 pm.
Note: This post was originally published in the Cambridge, NY local newspaper The Eagle, where the author writes a twice-monthly column.