Young Artists 2023, February 5 – 26
The Katonah Museum of Art is proud to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the annual Young Artists exhibition. Young Artists 2023, on view February 5 – 26, 2023, features artworks by nearly 400 high school seniors, curated and installed by the students themselves. Representing some of the best in student artistic talent from more than 40 schools across Dutchess, Fairfield, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties, the works range in scale, concept, media, and process, reflecting a diversity of expression in the aspiring artists.
The Young Artists program exemplifies KMA’s dedication to providing dynamic museum education opportunities to its community and to fostering the next generation of creative thinkers and artists. An impactful program that supports the growth of student artists, the exhibition plays an integral role in the high school senior experience, providing a unique opportunity for students who plan to pursue the arts beyond high school. For the Museum, the idea of access and education is at the heart of its mission and arts education has been a foundation of the KMA since its inception.
The union between making the arts available, and the importance of education, drives the Young Artists exhibition. With the goal of providing hands-on, insider museum experiences to aspiring artists, the program invites student involvement in many aspects of the exhibition process, including the behind-the-scenes elements. Under the guidance of museum professionals, participating students take on the roles of artist, curator, graphic designer, exhibition designer, and installer as they work collaboratively to bring this popular exhibition to life. The resulting exhibition is a tribute to the talent of the budding artists, the dedication of their teachers, the support of their families, and a powerful illustration of the KMA’s steadfast commitment to education spanning over 40 years.
“The Young Artists program is a highlight of the year — with renewed energy and excitement each year. It’s really at the heart of what we do — share the arts with our communities and foster the next generation of creative and artistic thinkers,” said KMA Curator of Education Margaret Adasko. “We look forward to many more years of celebrating emerging artists and we hope that this program continues to open doors to their future involvement in the arts.”
The program includes a variety of educational components. The graphic design workshop — led by Bedford Central School District art educators — involves a collaboration between students and graphic design educators to create the invitation and postcard that are used to promote the exhibition. Through virtual sessions and an all-day, in-person workshop, students learn about the elements of successful graphic work and complete their own designs. At the end of the workshop, submissions are judged on strength of concept, clarity, aesthetic, and overall representation of the Museum. One student's design is then chosen to be used as the signature graphic element, selected in a voting process by other student artists, Museum Trustees, staff, and the volunteer team.
The artwork selected for the 2023 postcard was designed by Fox Lane High School senior Ella Rivard, a participant in the graphic design workshop. Reflecting on her experience, Rivard commented, “The Young Artists graphic design workshop at the KMA really allowed me to explore new boundaries and create something I had never made before. The postcard design — in which digital elements are combined — is my first collage piece. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside other talented artists in the area, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Young Artists!” Selected from among 34 entries, Rivard’s design was produced and printed on a widely distributed postcard invitation and featured in numerous platforms promoting the show.
In January, artworks are selected by teachers and delivered to the KMA. Under the guidance of Museum professionals and a KMA volunteer team, select students representing each school have the ability to explore a curator's role as they participate in the installation of the exhibition. This process challenges them to consider how to organize and display the hundreds of varied artworks to create a cohesive and pleasing exhibition experience for visitors. As part of this phase, students are also actively learning art installation skills such as measuring, wall hanging, levelling, and the placement of labels. During this experience, the students work alongside professional art installers who support the Museum's other exhibitions.
The resulting exhibition showcases the extraordinary talents of aspiring artists and reflects the depth and diversity of their creative expression. For high school seniors, the Young Artists experience lasts a lifetime and creates a legacy that has touched, inspired, and connected many generations of emerging artists in the community.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum is launching KMA 40 for 40, a fundraising initiative which invites individuals and businesses to make a contribution to help ensure that students throughout the region continue to have the opportunity to share their talents in the annual exhibition.