Annual youth art exhibit showcased virtually

By using online media, Souderton Area School District’s annual youth art exhibit has been displayed virtually. The pandemic has not stopped teachers from adapting to the differences it has brought with it.
The youth art exhibit features all grades and schools in the district from kindergarten to 12th grade.
“I really wanted the kids to still be able to have this opportunity to shine and show and share their work with the community,” elementary art teacher Berdine Leinbach. “I thought it’s really important for the kids and important for the community to be able to see the work that they’re doing.”
Leinbach is one of many art teachers in the district who feel that this exhibit is very important to the community, especially during this “bizzare year.”
“The ability for them to be able to express things and excel at something and then to have that shared I think is just extra powerful this year,” Leinbach said.
In past years, the exhibit has been held at the Indian Valley Public Library. The students’ art is normally “intermingled within all the different grade levels,” hung up or put on display above the bookshelves. According to Leinbach, there are usually several hundred pieces of artwork put out, all throughout the library.
The exhibit is usually up for the entire month of March for library visitors and family members to see.
Art teacher Sean Redmond said, in order to make the transition to virtual a possibility, the art teachers had to come up with a way for people to access it. Their goal is to attract a large quantity of online viewers.
To accomplish this, they put together a 38-minute long video composed of art work from all 10 schools in the district.
Leinbach said that she wanted to mix up the grade levels of students’ artwork, in order to “sort of have a similar feel to what we had before.”
Redmond said that each teacher put together a slideshow with pictures of the work they wanted to be shown.
Art teacher Sabrina Pistoria did, as well.
“I looked at art for all of my classes,” Pistoria said. “If I felt really excited about it or if I knew my students were excited about it, and I felt like it was a successful piece, I decided to include it.”
The exhibit is important to not only the art teachers in the department, but it is important to the students, as well.
According to sophomore Anjolie Ware, having her art displayed in a public space helps with confidence in her art.
“I don’t really share my artwork that much, but with posting more on social media and stuff, I feel a lot more comfortable,” Ware said.
The virtual exhibit has been able to reach people throughout the community. The link on the district and the library’s websites are accessible to anyone anywhere.
“I didn’t expect adults in my life to say something, and it’s interesting because I wouldn’t have expected it to be recognized like that,” Ware said.
According to Leinbach, having it up on the district’s website gives families a chance to “see it and view it on their own time frame, when it suits them” as well as allows them to “share it with family that’s not even around here.”
According to Leinbach, the community exhibit has been held each March since 1985 when it was started by art teacher Ruth Anderson.