Chattanooga Youth Gallery organizers — the area’s only juried art exhibition for high school students — knew that the show must go on despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Like a lot of things these days, it just looks a little bit differently.
Instead of having an evening of celebration at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, event organizers created a drive-by celebration to recognize the top nine winners from the three categories of visual arts, traditional digital photography and enhanced digital photography.
Chattanooga Youth Gallery organizers and TVFCU representatives drove-by the homes of winners and/or met them at a nearby TVFCU branch to award prizes through a socially-distant award ceremony. Winners received an art scholarship award, a yard sign, balloons and a goodie bag.
“These kids and teachers deserve a big round of applause,” said Jeannie Harper, Chattanooga Youth Gallery co-organizer. “Not only did they keep creating during this new world of social distancing and COVID-19 distractions, they along with the teachers persevered to submit artwork in a virtual setting. Chattanooga Youth Gallery could not be more pleased with the virtual galleries and is excited to present them to the community for its enjoyment.”
Chattanooga Youth Gallery received nearly 400 art and digital photography submissions from students from 15 schools, including Baylor, Boyd Buchannan, Bradley Central, Brainerd, Central, Chattanooga Center for Creative Art, Chattanooga Christian, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Hilger Higher Learning Academy, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe, Notre Dame, Sale Creek, Signal Mountain, Silverdale Baptist Academy and Soddy Daisy High Schools.
This year applicants submitted photos of their work, which were anonymously judged by a panel of local artists. Judges included Athena Buxton, educator in the arts, Hunter Museum of American Art, James Courtenay James, contemporary realism and portraiture artist, and Peggy Boyd Petrey, jewelry and mixed metals artist.
Chattanooga Youth Gallery was initially part of Palate 2 Palette, a past fundraiser for the former Craniofacial Foundation of America. The Youth Gallery event coordinators knew the importance the area’s only juried art show had on students and the community, so they continued working with TVFCU to make the event happen.
“We are honored to help present the Chattanooga Youth Gallery,” said Tammy Zumbrun, marketing/community outreach manager at TVFCU. “We were there eleven years ago at its inception, so it is nice to see how the event has grown over the years and the impact it has on our community and student artists. We are grateful we are able to celebrate the student artists this year through this socially-distant, award caravan.”
The Youth Gallery gives students an opportunity to better understand the arts and celebrates student work.
“My aunt, who once helped style a model for the cover of Vogue Magazine, gifted me with a subscription to a fashion magazine,” said Anna Breed, best in show winner for “The Imagination Suit.” “With inspiration at my fingertips, I began cutting out my favorite fabrics and prints and fashioned them into collages of my own designs. I created “The Imagination Suit” with the idea of developing a piece that directly represented my love of fashion and featured scraps from the magazine that cultivated the original vision.”
Normally, the community is invited to help celebrate the student work by attending an art exhibition at a downtown venue for an evening of celebration. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, the show is now virtual. Please visit chattanoogayg.com to view a complete gallery of student art.