Kids Know Their Bay

How young artists view our great estuary

Watercolor by: Sophia Leotta, 17-year-old senior, Huntingtown High School National Art Honor Society member
       Each of us Bay-lovers sees the Chesapeake in a different way. Especially important is how young Marylanders see our great estuary, for its survival will soon be in their hands. 
       March has been celebrated in Maryland for 57 years as Youth Art Month. 
       This month, you can see the new  160-piece exhibit, Portraits of the Chesapeake Bay, just up at Calvert Marine Museum.
       Calvert County High School art teacher Heather Smith is the force behind Calvert’s annual Youth Art exhibit. Some 20 years ago, Smith envisioned a Super Bowl to show off the best work of student artists.
        As for subject, her students were interested in the Chesapeake Bay, nature and animals, and they wanted to contribute to helping this environment and ecology prosper. She struck up a partnership with Calvert Marine Museum that’s proved remarkably long-lasting.
       “We have so many talented students and art teachers in Calvert County,” Smith says. “Participating in the Calvert Marine Museum’s Youth Art Month Exhibit is a great way to celebrate and share students’ talents with the community.” 
       With all Calvert art teachers invited to mobilize student artists, 1,500 to 2,000 artworks come in each year.
       In this year’s exhibit, you’ll see an array of two- and three-dimensional media. Two-dimensional media include acrylic, charcoal, chalk, ink, mixed media, oil, pastel, pencil, photography, tempera and watercolor. Three-dimensional work includes clay, jewelry, papier-mache, recycled materials, wire and wood.
       Like any art show, this one opens with a reception where student artists see and hear that excitement, wonder and appreciation visitors express about their creations.
      “Many of the student artists bring their family, friends and neighbors to the reception,” Smith says. “Parents always comment how much they enjoy seeing their children’s work in a professional setting, centered around life on the Chesapeake Bay.”
      Students of all ages beam with pride, she says, “shoulders back, chests out, eyes gleaming, huge smiles.”
       “Art is an integral part of every child’s academic and social development. It continues to be a wonderful way and opportunity for students to be able to express themselves,” the veteran teacher says.
Youth Art Month Exhibit: Opening reception March 2, 
5-6:30pm. The exhibit runs thru March 31.