SCAC High School Juried Art Exhibit is April 24

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

In March of 2020, the Shelby County Arts Council was looking forward to hosting their annual Statewide High School Juried Art Exhibit in their brand new gallery when the state shut down in response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic just days before it was to open.

Being true artists themselves, however, the staff at the council, knew that the show had to go on.  If the people could not come to the art, then the council would bring the art to the people. They immediately pivoted and made arrangements for the full exhibit to be available online in a stunning slide show presentation which can still be found on their Facebook page.

Here we are a year later, and the SCAC is pleased to have this year’s body of work from students all over the state, open to the public for viewing in person.  This year’s number of submissions was overall smaller as a result of the pandemic. E-learning and general struggles in how the “new normal” has affected school this year made for smaller class sizes and differences in how classes were executed, but as SCAC Director Bruce Andrews said, “What the pandemic did not affect was the quality of the work. Most of this year’s art was created during one of the most difficult years in these kids’ lives so far, and you can tell they had a lot to say with their creativity.”

Andrews added, “Submitting to this art show is an exercise in learning how to consider what it is to be a professional artist. It’s great practice for students.”

Those who applied, 278 to be exact, had to learn to first skillfully submit a digital display of their art, that would do it justice, and catch the eye of those making the final selection for the exhibit. In all, only 65 pieces made the cut.  The exhibit includes work from students at sixteen schools, including two homeschool students, and the work comes from as far south as Mobile and as far north as Huntsville this year.

The categories being judged include photography, drawing, painting, mixed media and 3D, and the art will be open to view from now through Columbiana’s first city-wide youth art event, Art on Main, happening April 24 (see the website for gallery hours). Art on Main will host not only visual art from students around the county all day but outdoor stage performances from school choral groups, orchestras, jazz bands and more from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cash awards for each category, as well as a Best of Show award,  will be given in a ceremony the following day that all the artists and their families are invited to attend.