ArtEx, an exhibit highlighting the talents of local high school students, has been transformed into a virtual exhibit this year. The exhibit can be viewed online on the AAME website and on YouTube beginning Nov. 2. Students from Tennessee High School, Virginia High School, Abingdon High School and Sullivan North High School are participating this year.
ArtEx, formerly Artistic Excellence, began as a committee of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. The idea came from artists who served on the board. The original committee was made up of Dee Sproll, Lisa Boardwine, Adam Justice, Carole Ann Miller, Dottie Havlik and Barbara Niemczak. The current ArtEx Committee is comprised of Havlik, Ken Oster, Phil Hamilton and Niemczak.
In 2010, the AAME board decided not to continue the project and instead to focus on a monthly “Youth Spotlight” column in A! Magazine for the Arts.
In 2011, Art in Public Places, originally an AAME project but now a separate non-profit, made ArtEx a committee of AiPP. ArtEx has held its competition for high school art students every year since.
Throughout the years, the opening reception and exhibit have had many homes. William King Museum was the first location. It moved to the Bristol Public Library and then to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. For the past two years, it has been at Bloom Cafe and Listening Room on State Street, Bristol, Tennessee.
“We enjoyed great exposure to much of the pedestrian traffic downtown there. According to the employees, who loved ArtEx, Bloom’s patrons got into the spirit of things and had extensive discussions about what various works meant and who deserved their ribbons and who should have had one. ArtEx created a dialog about art in downtown Bristol. That was something special.
“These young artists deserve to have their tremendous talent showcased. We also honor the dedicated teachers who nurture this talent. We want to show these young people that they and their art matter. Most of them will not pursue a career in the arts, although we have had three in the past four years go on to study art in college. We encourage all of them to continue to use creativity in all aspects of their daily lives,” says Niemczak.
To view the exhibit on the AAME website, clickhere.