(At Least) 8 Ways to Observe Youth Art Month
Established in 1961, Youth Art Month (YAM) is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art and art education for all children and to encourage public support for quality school art programs. It’s a great reminder to schedule some art-focused activities for your family or for other children and teens you know.
The Oregon Art Education Association is the local council for Youth Art Month (YAM) activities. Their big four suggestions for celebrating YAM are:
- Present at a school board meeting (this one is really aimed at teachers, naturally)
- Showcase children’s artwork around town—in coffee shops, library branches, community centers, you name it
- Celebrate YAM with kids you know
- Host an art show of your own
But we’re excited about some already scheduled events here in PDX—and this is just scratching the surface!
- The Regional Arts & Culture Council is a great clearing house for information about local arts events and they maintain an entire page of Local Arts Opportunities for Youth. For example… Do you know a young sculptor? Check out the nomination process for the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards. Or maybe you know a talented young writer. Why not help them prepare a submission for the Youth Nature Writing Contest at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park?
- Portland Community Media educates local youth in media arts and digital technologies through their Portland Youth Media program. The March schedule includes workshops specifically for 12-18 year olds.
- Schedule a Sunday family tour of the Portland Art Museum on March 4, 11, 18, or 25. Tours are free for members or with Museum admission and always free for children age 17 and younger.
- On March 17th, join curators on a guided walk through the new exhibit “Youth Perspectives: Portland, Oregon” at Pacific Northwest College of Art. The art in the exhibition was created by children 4-14 years old who have participated in PNCA’s youth art program. PNCA is also hosting a Family Clay Day on Sunday, March 25. Both these events are free and open to the public.
- Register for a one of the youth-oriented programs at the Oregon College of Art and Craft:
- Art Adventures Spring Break Camps, March 25-30
- Pre-College Workshops, March 26-30
- Family Workshop: Felted Eggs, April 1 – close enough!
- Oregon Children’s Theatre is hosting an open house on March 17. Tour their new space and enjoy performances while nibbling on treats from Cupcake Jones. The Theatre is staging “Locomotion” through March 18 and is also showcasing their improv troupe March 8-10.
- Portland is also home to the Northwest Children’s Theater and School, with “Richard Scarry’s Busytown” on the main stage March 17-April 1.
- YAM events are happening elsewhere in the country, too. For example, if you find yourself in the “other” Portland, the city’s art museum is hosting a special Youth Art Month exhibition of artwork created by Maine students, including a special reception on March 10. Your state and regional arts organizations are good starting points for more information.
And if you don’t see an event that speaks to you, feel free to create your own Youth Art Month observance. Time may be too short to organize something from scratch this year, but the Council for Art Education has great resources – particularly the Information Booklet and List of Ideas (both PDFs) – that can kick start your planning for 2013.