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GRACE Hosts Young Artists

Gallery celebrates Youth Art Month with art of local students.

Greater Reston Art Center [GRACE] has opened its new exhibit “Art: Works from Participating Schools” which will run from March 7 to March 15. This exhibition highlights artwork from the GRACE Art program. Over 40 area schools participate in this program, in which classroom volunteers deliver an interactive art history lesson with visuals followed by an engaging hands-on art project designed to reinforce the lesson. Selected student projects from seventeen participating schools are presented at GRACE, promoting the impact of this visual art literacy program.

GRACE’S OUTREACH PROGRAM to local students reaches over 20,000 children according to Executive Director and Curator Holly Koons McCullough.

“I think it is exciting for the children to see their work on the walls,” said GRACE Education Director Jeanne Loveland. Loveland began working with GRACE as a parent docent and volunteer and then joined GRACE staff. “I am very impressed with the level of art this year,” said Loveland.

Schools engaged in the GRACE art program select one portfolio each month from a group of 80 portfolios on a specific artist or subject. Both McCullough and Loveland thanked the parents and the exhibition coordinators for their assistance in the art program, which is now 38 years old. For some visitors, it was their first visit to GRACE.

“Art is one of my favorite classes,” said Andrew Stelts, a sixth grade student at Oakton Elementary School. Stelts and several classmates have some of pieces imitating the style of artist Henri Rousseau on display at GRACE. “This is a wonderful way for students to shine at an art gallery,” said Sue Lefave, the exhibition coordinator for Fox Mill Elementary. “It has been a really wonderful program,” said Nadia El-Khatib, an art teacher at Al Fatih Academy. “GRACE is a great resource for our community.”

Joan Kelly, a resident of Reston since 1975 and a practicing artist was also attending the evening reception. Kelly helped develop the student outreach program. “It is really fun to see how this program has grown,” said Kelly. “We started with just seven school in 1983… there are many different ways of expressing yourself and I think you can see that at this display.”

“What we are trying to do is develop an appreciation for art,” said Loveland. “It is enough to get them interested and excited… I think we have accomplished that.”

Participating schools in this month’s March 7 to March 15 show include:

Academy of Christian Education, Al Fatih Academy, Aldrin Elementary, Arris Montessori, Common Ground Child Care Center, Flint Hill Elementary, Forestville Elementary, Fox Mill Elementary, Gabriel Homes, Inc., Green Hedges School, Lake Anne Elementary, Navy Elementary, North Springfield Elementary, Oakton Elementary, Terraset Elementary, Vienna Elementary, and Waples Mill Elementary.

The next exhibit “Emerging Vision: Complexities” will feature the work of students from Herndon, Oakton and South Lakes High Schools. This exhibit will run from March 21 to April 5 and present evocative drawings and paintings, energetic mixed media works and photography. The reception for this show will be Friday, March 21, 6 to 8 p.m.

To learn more about GRACE exhibits, visit www.restonarts.org.