March is Youth Art Month at Albany Museum of Art

Mar. 4—ALBANY — The Albany Museum of Art will observe Youth Art Month in March with special Saturday events and programming, including a collaborative art studio, and the 42nd annual Kiwanis Club student art awards. The AMA also will host the Dougherty County School System's Fine Arts Festival.

"The arts are a vital part of a well-rounded education," AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said. "The arts encourage and enhance critical thinking skills, spark creativity, offer new perspectives, and provide critical avenues of expression. The positive influence that art has on the youth of our nation is certainly something to celebrate."

Youth Art Month, which began in 1961, is an annual celebration of the visual arts that promotes art and art education in the United States. Thousands of schools across the nation participate, often with involvement from museums and local civic organizations.

"We maintain strong youth art programs year-'round at the Albany Museum of Art, but March is a month to celebrate the impact art has on our youth," AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. "Along with our monthly programming for children and youth, we have some special Saturdays planned."

The events at the AMA start with a double-header on March 11, when a two-hour Collaborative Art Studio is led by artist Orion Wertz, an associate professor of fine art in painting at Columbus State University. Wertz has two works currently showing at the AMA in the exhibition "Highlighting Contemporary Art in Georgia: Picture This."

During the workshop, which will be noon-2 p.m., participants of all ages will work together on large sheets of paper, resulting in chaotic arrays of images covering the space. Registration for the workshop is $10 for AMA members or $15 for non-members.

The workshop will be followed from 2-4 p.m. with the announcements of award winners in the Kiwanis Club of Albany-Dougherty County's 42nd annual Student Art Contest. Local students compete in elementary, middle, and high school categories in the competition. Following the awards presentations, elementary school winners' art will be on display March 15-30 at the AMA. The awards program is free and open to the public.

"That Saturday will burst with creativity at the collaborative workshop, and it is always wonderful to see the high-quality artwork that students in our community create in the Kiwanis contest each year," Vanoteghem said.

On March 25, students from throughout the Dougherty County School System will be at the AMA for the school district's Fine Arts Festival. The festival for students, their families, and faculty will be conducted on the grounds of the museum from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The festival is a free event and is open to the public.

"This festival promotes the fine arts in Albany and DCSS during Youth Art Month," Vanoteghem said. "Art instructors will set up booths and showcase student work, and performances (are)to be given by DCSS choirs, bands and dance groups. Plus, we'll have food trucks and more."

While Saturdays at the AMA will be packed with special events, the museum's full schedule of popular monthly programs will be going on as well, she said.

"Toddler Takeover, our 30-minute art experience for kids 15 months to 5 years old and their caregivers and siblings will be on Tuesday," Vanoteghem said. "On Thursday, we will have our 90-minute Homeschool Day educational art program for homeschool students starting at 10 a.m."

Those will be followed by the two monthly After School Art Club sessions, workshops in which students learn art techniques and concepts and are encouraged to further develop their art skills.

"Our middle and high school Art Club students will be here from 4-6 p.m. on March 20, and elementary school students will have their club meeting from 3:30-5 p.m. on March 21," Vanoteghem said. "Normally, these two clubs meet on the last week of the month, but we moved each of them up a week because some students will be on spring break during the week of March 27."

While young artists are emphasized throughout March, Vanoteghem noted that adult art lovers are not being left out.

"Our Corks & Canvases Painting Party at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday will re-create an artwork by Henri Matisse," she said, "and our bimonthly Art Lovers Book Club will meet at 6 p.m. on March 21 to discuss 'Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie,' by Maya Angelou."

Details and registration links for events may be found at

The Albany Museum of Art is located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, adjacent to Albany State University's West Campus just off Gillionville Road. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Admission is free.