Kenmore Youth Art Exhibit ‘will blow you away’

  • Written by Kirsten Abel
The fifth annual Kenmore Youth Art Exhibit, featuring 31 local artists ages five to 18, is on display at the Arts of Kenmore Gallery at Kenmore City Hall. The show launched on November 17 and runs until January 25, 2018. 
“The opening was fantastic and overwhelming,” said Sara Solum Hayashi, the curator of the Arts of Kenmore Gallery. With over 100 people in attendance, it was the largest opening in the event’s history.
Hunter and the Hunted Pen Sophie Zhang 10Fifth grader Sophie Zhang’s pen and ink drawing “Hunter & the Hunted” placed first in the 9-12 age group at the Kenmore Youth Art Exhibit (Photos courtesy of AOK)Youth art shows like the exhibit in Kenmore are rare. Juried art shows featuring youth artists are even rarer. 
“When it comes to visual art, it’s not like they have a band concert five times a year or a drama one-act or annual musicals. There are very few opportunities,” Hayashi said. “This is why I started this.”
Sisters Jasmine Zhang (age 16) and Sophie Zhang (age 10) are participants in this year’s exhibit. 
Jasmine Zhang’s pen and ink drawing, “Its Venice,” placed second in the 16-18 age group. “It feels great to have my art out there,” she said in an email interview. “Usually only my family gets to see it, because I’m shy about my work. But it’s really exciting, knowing that other people get to see what you’ve drawn and the way you see the world through art.”
The piece is inspired by the grand European architecture she fell in love with during previous visits there. “I wanted to capture that sight through art, because it’s something that I rarely get to see back home,” she said.
Sophie Zhang submitted a pen and ink work called “Hunter & the Hunted,” which took first place in the 9-12 age group.
It s Venice Pen 9x1216 year-old Jasmine Zhang’s exquisite pen and ink drawing, called “Its Venice” (Photos courtesy of AOK)“My favorite part is coloring, or in ink, adding the little details,” she said in an email interview. “It’s just really fun to see something beautiful come out of an outline.”
According to Hayashi, 61 total artists applied to be included in the show. Due to limited space, only 31 could be accepted. For the juried portion of the show, first, second, and third place artists were chosen within each age group. That portion of the show Hayashi has a complicated relationship with.
“Sometimes I like the idea and sometimes I don’t,” she said. Because art is so subjective, and because the artists involved are all so talented, it’s difficult to rank them. “It is a big deal just to get into this show.”
Not only is it a big deal personally for the artists, it’s also a big deal for future art careers, Hayashi said. Students often list the Youth Art Exhibit on their college applications. Some have gone on to study art at Cornish College of the Arts, Western University, and Parsons School of Design.
“I am very, very proud of them,” Hayashi said. “They are incredible. They are uninhibited.”
Today, Arts of Kenmore provides about $3,200 per year, which it raises from art sales, to support arts programming within Kenmore-area schools. 
Maze by Aliyah Mann age5Aliyah Mann, age 5, placed first in the 5-8 age group with her chalk pastel drawing “Maze-Line Study.” (Photos courtesy of AOK)“I think many young artists are shy about their work, thinking that what they’re doing isn’t as good as what an adult can do,” Jasmine said.
“It really inspires us to draw more, paint more, because we know our art, our feelings, our ideas, are worth something.”
Other winners include Aliyah Mann (age 5), Maryjane McMullen (age 5), Georgia VanGerpen (age 12), Lauren Van Matre (age 12), Kirby Long (age 14), Teagan Gonzales (age 13), Carmen Selene Ivy (age 13), Catherine Yeh (age 18), and Angela Lee (age 17).
Visit for more information, and catch the exhibit at the Arts of Kenmore Gallery at Kenmore City Hall until January 25.
“It will blow you away,” Hayashi said.

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