Next week, the world-renowned Whitney Museum of American Art unveils its much- anticipated showing of contemporary American artists.
It was no less exciting tonight in Watertown, as the Tri-County Art Teachers’ Association showcased the work of nearly 1,200 students from 21 schools in an impressive community-wide celebration.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind event,” said Jeanette Stapley, a NYSUT Board member and Schroon Lake retired teacher who helped present awards. “It not only promotes a love of art and celebrates students, it also honors the many art teachers behind them.”
The Tri-County Art Teachers’ Association — with support from Carthage Savings, a number of other local businesses, and dozens of community members — celebrated its 36th year with an opening night reception at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown. The works will be on display during regular business hours through May 15.
Tonight’s ceremony included everything from participation awards for the youngest grades to more than $2,000 in monetary awards for students from throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Other special honors included “Budding Artist” awards for K-5 students for “art that inspires one to action,” and Fine Art and Photography portfolio awards for graduating seniors. The Julie Bettinger award for ceramics was presented in honor of the late South Jefferson art teacher who was the driving force behind the event nearly four decades ago.
Another popular part of the event is the “teacher show,” where many of the art teachers showcase their personal work.
“The kids,” said Brian Hallett, Tri-County Art Show treasurer and South Jefferson TA member, “really enjoy this part of the show as well as seeing their own work on display.”
The event website features a slide show of award winners, a donation area, plus a “who’s who” directory of area art teachers.
The listing of more than 60 participating art teachers helps the community put a face — or in some cases an artistic self-portrait — to the teacher’s name, along with contact information.