The Bonifas Arts Center will celebrate the creativity of area students (grades K-12) at its annual Youth in Art (YIA) exhibit March 2-30 and talent show March 18 at 7 p.m.
Traditionally, the YIA exhibit is exciting, “so pure and honest,” said Pasqua Warstler, Bonifas artistic director, making the show “a joyful event—uplifting and lighthearted.” Viewing is free and open to the public.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the YIA talent show traditionally features dancers, comedians, singers, jugglers, musicians, magicians, poets, and actors.
“Not everyone’s artistic vision can be hung on a wall,” said Carla Meyer, Bonifas special events coordinator. Some youths’ art requires this “interactive” forum, the interplay between performers and audience members, during which some children’s creativity grows and comes alive through “moving and dancing and being vocal,” Meyer said.
Bonifas leaders always are working to get more children and families involved within the Bonifas community, and the YIA events bring more kids and families into the gallery, Warstler said, “so that excites us.”
“Kids belong here,” Warstler said. “We want kids to have an expressive voice, to understand that the arts are a way to try new things out, to keep exploring.”
The talent show offers students and adults the chance to experience a variety of art forms they may not encounter in their daily life, allowing them to enjoy the area’s diverse talent and perhaps inspiring them to try a new type of art, Meyer said.
As schools cut art programs, the YIA exhibit and talent show become more important, Meyer said. “A lot of schools don’t have art anymore, aside from what the classroom instructor can provide, or they don’t have performing arts, plays, stages, so some kids don’t get to experience costumes or anything like that, and we need to provide a space for kids interested in the performing arts,” she said.
Everyone is welcome to attend free meet-the-artists receptions honoring students featured in the exhibit March 15 (grades K-5) and March 16 (grades 6-12) at 6 p.m. in the Bonifas gallery.
The YIA exhibit is a “beloved community favorite,” said Warstler, and wouldn’t be possible without the support of gallery-partner Verso Corporation as well as the following sponsors: the Escanaba chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District, the Escanaba Noon Kiwanis Club, and the Michigan Education Association Coordinating Council 17B.
Talent show tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children, free for kids age five and under.