FARMINGTON — The UMF Emery Community Arts Center has announced that “Art Madness,” an exhibition of works by more than 550 local elementary students, will be showcased from Jan. 9 to Feb. 7. Artwork will be displayed in the upper and lower lobbies of Emery and throughout the hallways. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

“We are very excited to have this special opportunity to showcase artwork from the children in our community,” said Ann Bartges, center director. “The Emery Center is proud to offer Western Maine an arts venue that celebrates the importance of art in civic life.”

Kendra Stenger, a Mt. Blue Regional School District art teacher, has been working with students in grades two through five to participate in the show. Student artists are from Cascade Brook School in Farmington, Academy Hill School in Wilton and Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon.

The show includes a varied selection of art media, including painting, mixed media, drawing, weaving, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking and some large-scale collaborative work. Content ranges from works of abstract art, observation studies, self-portraits, cultural symbolism and Maine lighthouse studies.

“When I explained to the students that their artwork was going to be in a real art museum, their eyes widened with surprise,” said Stenger. “Displaying student work in a professional setting shows the students that I believe their art is worthy of such space and location. Students gain confidence and feel ownership by being a part of their community.”

She also looked to students to suggest titles for the exhibit. Travis Perreault, fourth-grade student at Cascade Brook, proposed the title “Art Madness.”

The Emery Community Arts Center is an innovative, experimental venue for the arts in Western Maine. It features a 2,500-square-foot, 109-seat multipurpose performance space with vertical foldaway doors that open onto an outdoor performance area and a 1,600-square-foot Flex-Space gallery for traditional exhibits, new media and performance art. An interior corridor offers additional exhibition space and connects the center with the UMF Alumni Theater. The Emery Center is on Academy Street between Main and High streets in downtown Farmington. The gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., every day during the academic year when school is in session.

Abstract by Ariel Roy, second grade, Academy Hill School. Submitted photo

Lighthouse by Wyatt Jessen, fourth grade, Cascade Brook School. Submitted photo

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