Young artists create bold entries and display meticulous skills for Mayor’s Teen Art Show

The work of talented young artists is on display this month at the Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene as part of the Mayor’s Teen Art Show.

The exhibit runs September 8 – 29. The juried show, which awards scholarships, gives teens the opportunity to create and display work for a professional exhibit.

Stopping by the gallery on Friday to cast her vote for the Mayor’s Choice Award, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said the exceptional entries this year made judging tough, but that’s also what makes it great.

“Youth really open windows for all of us,” said Vinis, standing next to one of the entries, a patchwork coat made of varied fabrics.

“They see the world in a new way. And they see it differently than we see it. I just find it both enlightening and sometimes painful, because of what they are expressing. And always, inspiring,” she said.

Among the works are portraits, still lives, three dimensional creatures, bodices, contemporary imaginings, pointillism, earrings, photography, digital art, and collage. Colors, sizes, subjects and mediums vary widely.

This year’s show was the first time as a juror for longtime art educator Diane Hill, who retired last year. In the past, she’s been an art teacher, helping students develop skills and find their voice. Walking through the gallery space taking in each piece, she called the show “exceptional.”

“This is probably one of the most exciting shows I have ever been to, for this teen process and this whole exhibition. I’m just vibrating with all the different art forms and the excitement that these pictures, and the emotion that they are bringing to me,” Hill said.

Exhibition coordinator Liberty Rossel hung, displayed and designed the show, which includes the work of 41 artists from 19 middle and high schools. Rossel describes the show as lively and energetic, and said a surprise trend this year are a few sculptural pieces.

“There is so much personality in these works. They’re really bringing their point of view, their opinion, what they want to see and they’re emulating it and just simply doing studies of the work, which is also a certain skill, but it’s nice to see so much of the artist in the work,” Rossel said Friday, the exhibit’s opening day.

Rossel recommends giving yourself enough time to absorb and appreciate the works and to experience how the pieces are displayed within the gallery. Reading the artist’s statements, which are available inside the gallery, deepens the experience, giving the viewer insight on what drives them and what inspired each piece.

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