The Fort Madison Area Arts Association's downtown gallery is filled with the works of some of the youngest artists in southeast Iowa as part of the organization's annual "Budding Artists Exhibition." A reception will be held Saturday, January 20, from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the gallery.
Executive Director Brian Riggs said this year's show features more than 700 works, which is a couple hundred more than last year.
“Every space in the feature gallery is taken by art education right now,” said Riggs.
“Folks make such a big deal about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) when it is really about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). Creativity is a major part of a person’s growth as well as math and engineering.”
Riggs said the budding artists exhibit is one of the most popular each year for the FMAAA. He said it got its start about 15 years ago when a local art teacher stopped by to talk about displaying the works of younger students.
“Many, many years ago in the mighty CB&Q depot [the gallery’s former home], Lois de Prima stopped by to see me to pitch the importance of a K-8 level art show at the gallery to represent developing creators in the school system. I was so happy to have taken her advice, except when actually hanging the show, as this has been a consistent staple in the FMAAA menu of cultural achievement.”
Riggs said the quality of the works improve each year. He said the students are also using more advanced media as well, pointing to the third graders at Lincoln and Richardson Elementary Schools in Fort Madison as an example.
“[The students participated in] a trading card project with each student creating their own work in small scale,” said Riggs. “And they are riveting. Expect them to have more value than Pokemon cards.”
Farmers Savings Bank is sponsoring the exhibition. Saturday’s reception will feature food and drinks and the opportunities for students and their families to take photographs with their artwork.