Growing up, most children’s artwork is displayed only on the family refrigerator, never reaching a larger audience.
But the USC Fisher Museum of Art is offering local elementary school kids a chance to see their art displayed without a magnet holding it up.
Fisher has teamed up with the University Neighborhood Outreach Program, the University Village Shopping Center and the Good Neighbors Campaign to launch the Art in the Village program, where students compete to have their artwork displayed in the UV food court.
“When the students excel in this program and gain confidence, it trickles into the other programs and inspires them to do well in other programs,” said Katherine Goar, Fisher’s education and programs coordinator.
The latest Art in the Village exhibit, titled “Color Me…,” opened Tuesday night, and features art from students from all of the USC Family elementary schools. Each piece was completed in only one color but in multiple media.
“Some were really bright yellow with angels and golden halos everywhere, equating yellow with joy,” Goar said.
More than 650 students applied to be featured in the “Color Me…” exhibit. The program, now in its seventh year, has continually received a positive response from parents, students and teachers.
“It’s just one more way to organize and communicate their own ideas,” said fourth-grade teacher Morgan Kapp. “It’s nice to have it be in such a big forum and be able to display their work if it’s selected.”
Hasan Harris, a fourth grader at the Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Science Center School and a previous winner, said the program made him feel special.
“It made me excited because I can draw good,” he said. “I have worked with more art after I was finished with my work and artwork.”
Harris created what he calls an “evil mad scientist” for the “If I Were a Scientist” exhibit last year.
The program began when the university, the Fisher Museum and members of the community noticed a lack of art in local schools. They decided to band together to increase the attention given to students for their artwork.
“It’s one thing to do art in the classroom and your parents hang it on the fridge, and it’s another thing to have a museum hang it on their walls or in a professional exhibition for the public to see,” Goar said.
Beyond education and recognition, Goar said the program gives children an outlet they are often denied.
“[The program is a] really great way for kids who are often struggling with big issues in their lives,” Goar said. “I’m always so inspired and amazed when I go through the individual pieces of art … [they] give you a window into the lives of these children and what they are thinking. It’s really important and we have to do that more often.”
The program runs on a $25,999 budget paid through the University Network Outreach Program, which solicits the staff and faculty at the university to donate a portion of their salaries.
Currently, the program puts on four yearly exhibits. “Color Me…” will be on display until Dec. 4 and the next exhibit begins on Dec. 8.