Incredibly Cool Kids Art at Mystic Arts Center

"You can feel the energy as soon as you walk in the room. Itís just an explosion of color and creativity," says "Young at Art" Chairperson, Amanda Oakes. "When you see the artwork you just go wow."

Young at Art or YAA, New London Countyís biggest annual youth art exhibition opens Saturday, February 16, 1 Ė 3pm at Mystic Arts Center.

"The look on the kidsí faces when they win is just wonderful," Amanda says.

Amanda, who has been involved in the exhibition for 14 years, continues to be amazed by the submissions Mystic Arts Center receives. "A lot of the group pieces are always beautiful to see, but the submissions donít have to be affiliated with an organization. Parents can enter art for their child as well."

Last year, over 800 submissions from regional students aged 18 and younger illuminated the galleries at Mystic Arts Center. The exhibition gives the regionís youth an opportunity to display their work in a professional setting. Submissions come from all over New London County and Rhode Island and include many group projects coordinated by local art teachers from area schools.

This year, Young at Art will be juried by Tracy Lawlor, education director at the William Benton Museum of Art. Tracy has led the Education Department at The William Benton Museum of Art on the UConn Campus in Storrs for 13 years. She has led the training of the museum's Docent Corps and developed the Art Ambassadors Program, a docent training program that gives experiential learning to students who are passionate about art.

The show runs from February 16 Ė March 16. For more information about submissions, visit mysticarts.org.

The exhibition encourages the use of art to advance learning in the regionís schools and is part of Mystic Arts Centerís commitment to fostering creativity in the community while bringing families together in a community space. A special Family Night event from 6pm Ė 8pm on March 7 is also planned during the exhibition. Free face painting, hands-on art making and childrenís yoga will be available in MACís galleries throughout the evening.

"Young at Art" is sponsored by Dominion, Steamboat Inn and the Family of Lil Maxwell.