133 N. Allegheny Street Bellefonte , Pennsylvania 16823
By Serge Bielanko
May brings new life back to Bellefonte. The sluggish winter that's just past won't be able to stick around for May. There's simply too much spring coming up now, too many flowers and too much sun. Winter is defeated for another year. Centre County, we have made it; we have survived. And so there is no better time for a place like our own Bellefonte Art Museum (BAM) to celebrate the arrival spring and her aura of new beginnings.
And so it is that May brings two of the loveliest projects to ever grace the halls of Linn House down on Allegheny Street.
Centre County High School Senior Show, May 4-27, 2018.
Beginning on May 4- and running through the entire month- the museum begins playing host to an extraordinary exhibit. The name 'Centre County High School Senior Show' may appear fairly cut and dry when you first read it. Okay, okay… you get it: a bunch of high school seniors will display their art class projects. Whoop-dee-doo, right?
That makes sense that you might feel that way. It's hard to get excited about stuff in this day and age of being bashed by information and entertainment 24/7. But consider this for a moment. High school seniors are way more mature and ready for the world than most of us can fathom. Kids today have an accelerated curve, they're smarter faster than we were… like it or not. And as a result: many of them, the ones with artistic vision/talent/ and commitment, they're also becoming more wildly talented artists than most if us could possibly believe. I'm not blowing smoke here - I've got no reason whatsoever to write about these kids and their art like this if they don't deserve the attention from their community.
But these seniors DO deserve it. They are THAT talented. Their work is THAT fabulous. And perhaps most importantly, these kids have found a way to express themselves in a world that is often overwhelming.
"High school kids are faced with tough issues these days," says Lori Fisher, gallery director for BAM. "Having children myself who have either graduated from high school or who are still there, I know first hand the pressure our kids deal with to succeed, to fit in, to find their identity and so on. I believe for some, being creative and using that passion as an outlet for their struggles or anxiety, gives them a voice or a release of sorts, that may otherwise be channeled through more negative alternatives."
Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Oseola, and State College Area School Districts all have high school seniors participating in this year's exhibit. They've worked tremendously hard to get their work featured. Art isn't just something you do in a classroom for 40 minutes and the forget about it when the bell rings. These local young men and women know that. They understand the dedication and resilience art of any kind demands. And they're about to understand that it all pays off in the most glorious ways too. Because when the museum kicks off May's Bellefonte First Sunday on May 6th with an opening reception all about these high schoolers and their wonderful work, they are going to finally understand how proud and accomplished an artist really feels when they're standing in a room full of smiling folks enthralled by the art in front of them. The art these students created.
Even if you're not the proud parent of one of these young artists getting ready to tackle the world, come out to celebrate their amazing accomplishments.
You won't regret it. It's darn right impossible to regret art. Show up, see why.
'A Poem In Our Eyes' - May 4-27th.
On the evening of May 16th at 6pm the Art Museum will be the most magic house in town as it features a ONE-NIGHT ONLY special edition of the Museum's popular 'Out Loud' program called 'A Poem In Our Eyes'. This is a moving night of poetry written by residents of the memory-loss unit at Bellefonte's Centre Crest Nursing Home. Part of Ridgelines Language Arts amazing outreach effort in which local Centre County people of all ages and from all walks of life write their own poetry, this particular reading will be extra special.
The residents will be on hand to read their poetry, but that's not all. Each poem they've written was inspired by paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, and sculptures all created by local artists. And many of these artists and their inspired pieces will be on hand too.
"The Poem in Our Eyes is a very powerful idea and I believe the collaboration makes it more powerful," says Lori Fisher. "It's generations sharing different perspectives."
It's generations sharing perspectives.
Absolutely it is. Both exhibits are when you really think about it. 'The High School Seniors Show' and 'A Poem in Our Eyes" are each all about young and old mixing and mingling, watching and learning. And creating.
And that's kind of perfect for Centre County, huh?
After all: we're young and we're old. We're farmers and we're poets, we're teachers, hunters, students, musicians, Little League outfielders, and painters. We're a little bit of everything. These projects prove that in the best possible way. Local people working together to achieve something wonderful.
Was that intentional?
"Oh yes!" exclaims Patricia House, executive director and founder of the nonprofit museum. "We were thinking about the significance of the High School show and realized our project w seniors was a good juxtaposition. That motivated us to work harder to make both shows happen."
And happen they will.
May is going to be a good one, you can feel it in the air.
While at your visit to BAM, head up to the 3rd floor to witness Underground Railroad: A Journey to Freedom exhibit. That permanent feature highlights the escaped slaves who sought safe passage to freedom in the north via a secret network of people who wanted to help abolish slavery altogether.
Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County
133 North Allegheny Street, Bellefonte, PA 16823
Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 - 4:30 pm OR By Appointment
*This exhibition is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency fund-ed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
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