WESTFIELD – Young artists were not intimidated by a tight deadline, and close to 50 city children entered the 2020 Online Westfield Youth Art Show presented by ArtWorks of Westfield, Inc.
“The response from the parents was overwhelmingly supportive, appreciative and joyous,” said Bill Westerlind, ArtWorks president. “They appreciated the opportunity for their children to express themselves through art and a platform to share that expression with the community.”
Westerlind added that the youth art show allowed ArtWorks members and the community to see what kids were creating at home.
“As we were planning the online event, we were convinced the kids would be so sick of screen time in school and at home that few if anyone would participate,” said Westerlind. “We were so wrong! With just under 50 entries in a very short period of time, we were awed and amazed. The talent, creativity, ingenuity and initiative of the children of Westfield is truly remarkable.”
Shannon Chiba, a city artist and board member of ArtWorks, shared a similar sentiment.
“I got a sense that this show and more like it are needed at this time,” said Chiba, who has been the principle driver behind the ArtWorks youth events. “Parents and caregivers enjoyed sharing their children’s art, and the children loved seeing others ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ under their pictures.”
Chiba said there were 48 submissions received with eight show winners and an additional eight winners who will receive prizes for “their amazing works.”
“Judging was done completely online and by ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ under the submitted pictures,” said Chiba, adding the completed works are posted on the 2020 Online Westfield Youth Art Show on Facebook.
“After winners were announced, folks flooded our Artworks inbox with messages of thanks for uplifting kids’ spirits during this time,” said Chiba.
The winners of the youth art show are: Riley, age 4; Annabelle, age 6; Evelyn, age 7; Renée, age 8; Liam, age 8; Elly, age 9; Chloe, age 10, and Lily, age 11.
Parents also shared their enthusiasm for the show, including Amy May McGowan, parent of Evelyn, age 7.
“This was such a good opportunity for her to share her artwork and see what other kids are doing,” she said. “I really appreciate ArtWorks Westfield offering artistic opportunities and events in Westfield. I love that they offer events like this to engage and encourage children in artistic endeavors.”
Karen Pighetti, parent of Liam, age 8, noted Liam said, “I am surprised I won and it made me happy.”
Another happy winner is Elly, age 9, who said, “I love art and my art teacher Kayla. I like to sketch, draw, paint, and trace. I draw a lot since I started art. I think it’s fun, relaxing, and calming. When I am done with art class and I get home I feel good about what I drew.”
“Seeing all of the art renews our confidence in our mission of creating venues and experiences for artists of all ages and abilities,” said Chiba, adding, “Kids are often left out of the artistic loop, and we want to highlight their budding talent.”
“Creating opportunities for the youth of Westfield to share their work and motivate them to pursue their artistic passions has always been a focus of the ArtWorks Westfield team,” said Westerlind, noting the inaugural youth art show in 2019 was “very well received and extraordinarily successful.”
“We were excitedly planning the 2020 version of the show but the pandemic made a real world show impossible,” said Westerlind. “The reaction to the online version of the show was equally impressive and positive, which only bolstered our view that more opportunities for our children to show the art work they create is very important for the children and the community.”
Chiba echoed that sentiment.
“From these pictures, you can see the joy children have as they create and you can see art from the perspective of a fresh take on the world; it is lovely, lovely, full of color and wonder,” said Chiba.