Teen Artists Open Colorful and Creative “Trending Classics” Exhibit

The young artists in Brazosport Art League’s Teen Studio Time may have worn masks during class each week, but their creativity was allowed to spread unchecked in unique and beautiful ways this year. Close to 20 students have their art displayed in the “Trending Classics: The Teen Studio Show,” which kicks off this week in the art gallery at The Center for the Arts & Sciences and runs through Saturday, July 3.

The show is sponsored by the family of Charles Bernard, in loving memory.

Primary instructor Linda Strickland, who has been teaching Teen Studio Time since its inception six years ago, said students start out in the fall learning the primary art mediums (watercolor, pastels, acrylic, clay, etc.) and basic techniques.

“We take a very loose approach, but we teach them the principles of art by letting them do it themselves,” she explained. “Our lessons are practical and very hands-on. We can give them a challenge and if they go off in another direction, we are okay with that. By the time March rolls around, they have learned the mediums and techniques. From there, they choose whatever medium they want to use for their final end-of-year project.”

Teen Studio Time met weekly on Tuesday afternoons, with two sessions available to safely allow the maximum number of students in the Brazosport Art League studio. Artist Mark Cameron also worked with Strickland and the students weekly, while several other Art League artists also stepped in during the year to teach lessons in their favorite mediums.

Students chose various mediums to work with for their final projects, from pastels and clay to glass mosaics and mixed media. Videos featuring each artist talking about their project pieces are available for viewing in the gallery via QR codes next to the works of art.

As they prepared their artwork to be displayed in the gallery this week, Strickland said the students learned a whole new set of skills.

“Learning to help hang the show is one of the most important lessons we offer,” she said. “Students not only mat and frame their art, but they also learn to work with wire hangers, drills, hammers and screwdrivers, they clean the glass and paint the frames. They have to title and put a price on each piece they plan to make available for sale.

“They begin to see what it takes to prepare art for sale or exhibition. There’s a lot of practical stuff the students pick up from Harry (Sargent, Director of Exhibitions and Gallery Installations) and they learn how much work goes into putting together a show. Then at the Opening Week Reception, they have the opportunity to talk to people about their work.”

Strickland is proud of how the students worked through the uncertainty of COVID-19 and a year with many roadblocks to get to this point.

“Last year was horrible because our students never got to come back after Spring Break, but we worked with them and sent home materials so they could finish their projects,” she recalled. “This year was crazy as well, with missing a week in September after the hurricane, continuing COVID-19 issues and the big freeze in February. It seemed like we just kept having to add classes to make up for these disasters.

“These kids are so easy going though, and they just roll with it and keep coming to class. It’s a place where they don’t have to worry about all the other things going on around them…they can just be and create.”

In previous years, students worked on group paintings, but due to COVID-19, instructors had to come up with an alternate plan. They took a painting by artist Vincent Van Gogh, divided it up into 20 equal sections and had each student paint their section in their own personal style. The small acrylic paintings have been put together to create a large polyptych, which will be offered in a silent auction throughout the exhibit to help fund the program.

Tickets to visit the art gallery are free, but reservations are required. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations can be made online at https://bcfas.org/visit/ or during business hours (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday) in person at the Box Office and over the phone (979-265-7661).