Kids Cowboy Up! exhibit highlights budding artists’ talents
by Marie Nesmith
Nov 13, 2013 | 1150 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Caitlyn James, from left, Talib Mitchell, Carolyn Jones and Trey Renfro participate in the Booth Western Art Museum’s Kids Cowboy Up Outreach Program. James and Jones recently were named winners in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Southeast Region Fine Arts Exhibit. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Caitlyn James, from left, Talib Mitchell, Carolyn Jones and Trey Renfro participate in the Booth Western Art Museum’s Kids Cowboy Up Outreach Program. James and Jones recently were named winners in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Southeast Region Fine Arts Exhibit. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Celebrating its 10th year, the Kids Cowboy Up! exhibition continues to showcase the artistic talents of youth enrolled at the Hands of Christ after-school program and the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Cartersville Unit.

On display through Jan. 5, 2014, in the Booth Western Art Museum’s Borderlands Gallery, the 93 pieces of artwork range from drawings and mixed media to mosaics and pottery. The selected creations were developed during the museum’s Kids Cowboy Up Outreach Program, which consists of a combination of on-site activities and, when possible, visits to the Cartersville museum.

“The first program was in the fall of 2004 and that was the first exhibit with the Boys & Girls Club,” said Peggy Cline, education assistant for the Booth Western Art Museum. “Since the fall of 2005, we’ve had both the Boys & Girls Club and the Hands of Christ artwork in the exhibit.

“The purpose [of this program] is basically to encourage the children’s lifelong interest in art and history and to have them enjoy coming to a museum and realize it’s lots of fun and they can learn a lot here. There’s [also] lots of different careers they can do in the arts as well. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow and [seeing] all these kids grow up. It’s fun because I’ve been with them for nine and a half years, so I’ve seen some of them grow up. ... Some of them definitely have quite an ability and they may end up going in the arts as a career.”

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 a special exhibit at the Booth, Cline will visit the Hands of Christ children and conduct an art project related to artwork they viewed at the museum.

For the Boys & Girls Clubs’ members, Cline helps the youth complete projects at the nonprofit’s Cartersville Unit that correlate to artwork in the museum as far as a theme or highlighting an artistic technique.

“It’s a wonderful outreach program for all these kids in our community,” Cline said. “I’m just thrilled that we’ve been able to do it for 10 years. ... They get so excited seeing their artwork at the museum.

“... They walk down the stairs or they get off the elevator and they’re just beaming. And the parents are so proud, too. They just love it. They’re all going around trying to find their artwork, and then they get their picture taken and we make copies of the photos for them to take back.”

Along with viewing the children’s artwork through the beginning of next year, the public is invited to meet the young artists at a reception in the Borderlands Gallery Nov. 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. Immediately following the gathering, sculptor Gerald Balciar will speak about his work in the Booth Theatre.

In addition to celebrating its 10th year in operation, the Kids Cowboy Up Outreach Program also received recognition at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Georgia Area Council and Alliance annual meeting in October, winning the State Program of the Year for Arts accolade.

The Kids Cowboy Up Outreach Program also helped foster the talents of three artists, which were recognized at the regional or national level. By having their artwork displayed in a public exhibit, the Boys & Girls Clubs’ youth are eligible to enter the nonprofit’s art competitions — Boys & Girls Clubs of America Southeast Region Fine Arts Exhibit and Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Fine Arts Exhibit.

Recently breaking uncharted territory, Janyah Lunceford is the local nonprofit’s first national winner with her printmaking entry titled “Northwest Coast Bird.” The Cartersville Unit also features two 2013 regional winners: Catilyn James’ “Pumpkins” in the pastel category and Carolyn Jones’ “Nocturnal Visitors” in the multi-color category. The three winners’ entries were displayed at last year’s Kids Cowboy Up! exhibition.

“It’s unprecedented for any organization, much less our relatively small organization,” said Gordon Gilley, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County. “I think it just speaks volumes to the fact that we’ve got such a great in-house fine arts exhibit in the collaborative with Booth.

“We have a lot of kids that go in and out of the program ... and to have local winners display [or] even selected and sent to the regional competition or exhibit is phenomenal but to go on and win two there and win one national award when there’s 4,000 clubs in the country and almost 5 million kids, it’s really unprecedented.”

For more information about the Kids Cowboy Up Art Exhibit, call the Booth museum at 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org.