Even through the darkest of times, the beauty of the artwork was able to shine through.
The Young Masters Art Exhibit, which features artwork created by students of all ages in Troy, has been an institution at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center for three decades. Even as the world was shutting down and social distancing, the exhibit carried on, albeit with a number of restrictions.
This year, for the first time in three years, the Young Masters Art Exhibit will not only be on display at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, but will also have a full open house and reception for all of the young artists, their families and guests.
“Kids know this exhibit is a tradition; they know that Hayner is a special place for their work to hang,” Troy High School art department chair Jill Hartman said. “We teach and coach the idea of community in our schools and this show provides the opportunity to celebrate the work from multiple school communities in a special community venue. Also, the community at large doesn't always get to see what is happening in schools. Visual and performing arts events provide evidence of the themes and experiences teachers are sharing with young people.”
The exhibit opens Friday (Feb. 17) and artwork will remain on display through April 2. Roughly 300 pieces of artwork created by 285 Troy-area students will be featured during normal Troy-Hayner Cultural Center hours. There also will be a full open house and reception from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 27. In 2020, the full open house took place before the pandemic shutdowns began. In 2021, there was no open house. Last year, each school had its own open house in order to limit crowd sizes.
Art teachers in all of Troy’s schools, at every grade level, select artwork for display at the Young Masters Art Exhibit.
“Each teacher selects work from students with their own criteria in mind,” Hartman said. “Maybe a piece in particular stood out in a class, or a specific piece was a success for that student after a light-bulb moment.”
Hartman said students, and their family members and friends, are always excited to hear they’ve had a piece of art selected for the exhibit.
“Many students are flattered that their work is going to be exhibited outside of the school building and I've heard a range of reactions from ‘Why?’ to ‘I've been waiting for my art to be picked for Hayner!’” Hartman said. “It's the best to see families come through the show together. I love to see an effort made by parents, siblings, grandparents and neighbors to celebrate talent with a student.
For those unable to attend the open house, the Troy Hayner-Cultural Center’s hours are: Monday (7-9 p.m.), Tuesday-Thursday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.), Friday and Saturday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and Sunday (1-5 p.m.) The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center is closed on holidays.
“The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center graciously makes room in their exhibit schedule for this annual show and they look forward to it because it generates traffic in the house,” Hartman said. “We are definitely thankful we have this opportunity and excited to have the full experience this year. For those who wish to view the artwork in a quieter, more peaceful setting, we would definitely encourage you to stop by during normal hours, as we are expecting a big crowd at the open house.”