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Youth Show '16: An exhibition of free-flowing exuberance

by RHONDA BUNYAN

Percy Thomson Gallery is gearing up for this year's Youth Show which runs from 22 July – 6 August.

It is an absolute joy to peruse the work as it arrives. We smile, we gasp, we learn and best of all we get excited. The exuberant styles and generous use of colour jumps out and embraces us with a great big warm bear hug!

Monique, my trusty assistant, has been the driving force behind this year's show, with both of us working on concept development.

We wanted to come up with a notion that was broad, and interesting enough to make young people make the effort to produce a painting.

The McDonald Real Estate Youth Challenge has attracted 30 entries.

We supplied canvas and paints (this year we purchased good quality acrylics with the assistance of Paper Plus Stratford and Creative Communities).

The 'GAMESCAPE' theme could apply to board games, computer games, sports games…even the game of life…for the deep thinkers, maybe.

There are two sections (primary and secondary school age) and prizes are kindly donated by McDonald Real Estate.

Judging is so subjective I know, and never easy. I am been around the art scene long enough to understand how the value, or not, of art is definitely in the eye of the beholder. (Unless, of course, it is made more attractive, and acceptable to the viewer, by the celebrity of an artist and the price his or her work commands).

The judging process doesn't sit well with me. In an ideal world each young artist should feel equally empowered with what they have produced.

I am sure the mere fact of exhibiting in the gallery will be reward enough for most.

They will also bring in family and friends to support their creative endeavour.

There is also a prize for best emerging artist, as selected by the Stratford Art Society.

by Ella, Room 2, Toko School

by Ella, Room 2, Toko School

We have an exciting new format for the primary school division of this year's Youth Show. We selected artists/art or cultural art techniques for the children to study and interpret into their own individual artworks. Packs with information were offered to schools. A handful of teachers took up the offer. I am convinced the experience was rewarding for them and their young pupils. A special thanks to those teachers. The artwork we received back was splendid indeed!

One of the famous works we selected, for the younger students to study was Van Gogh's 'Starry Night', using his techniques (short brush strokes, swirls, mixing colours, thick paint). Students could paint their own night sky that they see in Van Gogh's style. We were blown away with these paintings and know they will be a favourite with visitors to the Gallery.

Special guests this year, are students from Special Needs Department of Stratford High School. They have worked diligently producing 'pole people', driftwood sculptures and some members have also entered the Gamescape Youth Challenge.

They have been encouraged every step of the way by their passionate art and drama teacher, Aleata Fullerton.

It has been particularly rewarding for me to be involved with these students. I will be writing a story about their creative journey and the stunning results achieved. Some extremely moving moments for me.

You are invited to the opening of this joyous and highly stimulating exhibition on Friday 22 July at 7pm.