‘Kids Cowboy Up!’ art exhibit opens today at Booth Museum
by Marie Nesmith
Nov 13, 2012 | 1645 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As in past years, Gordon Gilley — chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County — is anxiously awaiting the “Kids Cowboy Up!” art exhibition reception. During Thursday’s Meet the Artists gathering at the Booth Western Art Museum, members of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Cartersville Unit and the Hands of Christ after-school program will view their exhibited creations for the first time.

“When that elevator opens or they come down the stairs — it’s at the Borderlands Gallery — you’ll see literally the body language [change],” Gilley said. “Their shoulders go back. They’re pointing at the wall. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler so I’m impressed too but their parents are just so appreciative and impressed that their child has done this.”

Featuring the work of 71 young artists, the exhibition features a wide range of mediums, some of which are sculpture, pottery, printmaking, drawing, painting and mosaic. On display through Jan. 6, the artwork was developed during the museum’s Kids Cowboy Up! initiative. In its ninth year, the offering consists of a combination of on-site activities and, when possible, visits to the Cartersville museum.

“It’s an outreach program to benefit the children of the community,” Booth Education Assistant Peggy Cline said, adding Kids Cowboy Up! serves about 370 youth ages 5 through 18. “We hope to develop a [lifelong] interest in art and hopefully to develop their personal artistic skills as well. I’ve been with them for over eight years, so I’ve seen them all grow up and they’ve done such a great job. I’m real proud of them.”

Unlike the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Hands of Christ program — which serves kindergarteners to third-graders at First Presbyterian Church of Cartersville and fourth- through 12-graders at Douglas Street United Methodist Church — is privy to transportation, enabling students to visit the museum throughout the school year. After each group tours an exhibit at the Booth, Cline visits the Hands of Christ children and leads an art project. The hands-on activities that are conducted at both organizations correlate to artwork in the museum as far as a theme or highlighting an artistic technique.

“The Booth program is able to expose our students to art and culture and even history in a way that they ordinarily would not have the opportunity to do,” said Jean Dudley, director of the Hands of Christ’s offering at First Presbyterian Church of Cartersville. “While they may have classroom learning on history and cowboys and things like that, they’re really getting more firsthand knowledge and, with the young children, the opportunity to step out of the classroom and go to a different learning environment ... is always more exciting.

“Our children are so young, because we have kindergarten through third grade here, [so] I don’t know that they have a full understanding of the whole art exhibit. But the idea that their work has been selected, it’s special and it’s hanging on the wall in this beautiful building is certainly so exciting to them.”

Along with viewing the children’s artwork through early 2013, the public is invited to meet the young artists at the reception in the Borderlands Gallery Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. Immediately following the gathering, sculptor Mike Hamby will discuss his transformation from a professional football player to an in demand artist in the Booth Theatre.

“A lot of the Boys & Girls Clubs, when they hear around the nation the good things we’re doing here locally at Cartersville and [about] our collaborative partnership with the Booth, they’re just stunned,” Gilley said. “We are so fortunate to have them provide this service and this leadership for us. Obviously it culminates in the exhibit, which is fantastic for the kids, but really [we appreciate the] art education, art appreciation and literally hands-on [instruction that] provides them a vehicle to express their artistic talents.”

The reception will be included in the museum’s regular admission — $10 for adults, $8 for individuals 65 and older, $7 for students, and free for children 12 and younger, museum members and active military personnel with ID.

For more information about the “Kids Cowboy Up!” exhibit, call the museum — 501 Museum Drive — at 770-387-1300.