Virus or no virus, the show must go on.
And with the help of technology, it did.
While the Booth Western Art Museum was unable to host this year’s Primary and Elementary School Art Exhibit in the Borderlands Gallery as usual, it was able to present the artwork of students in kindergarten through fifth grade in an online flipbook exhibition on its website through June 15.
Having to do the 2020 exhibit of work created by Bartow County and Cartersville City artists virtually has been “bittersweet” for Programs Manager Mersia Martin.
“I love being able to see the artwork in person and to meet the artists at the reception, but for obvious reasons, we were unable to host the usual in-house exhibition this year,” she said. “When it became clear we would not be able to put together The Primary and Elementary School Art Exhibit in-house, we immediately decided to go to a digital format. This way, students still have their work recognized and celebrated.”
Martin said teachers couldn’t access the artwork they had stored in their classrooms “so many of the pieces featured in the flipbook were done through at-home assignments and digitally submitted.”
“This is the first time the Booth Museum’s education department has ever attempted a digital submission process,” she said, noting museum employees haven’t been in the building since early March. “Bartow County and Cartersville City educators submitted photos of student work, often using artwork that students had completed through online assignments.”
Then Audio/Visual Manager Lindsay LeCroy put the photos into a digital flipbook format, Martin said.
“One of the benefits of having a digital exhibit is that we were able to increase the number of artworks submitted per school and relax restrictions on size,” she said.
The collection features 91 works of art by more than 90 artists – one piece was submitted by the fourth- and fifth-grade Chalk Club at Pine Log Elementary – from Adairsville, Allatoona, Cartersville, Clear Creek, Cloverleaf, Kingston, Hamilton Crossing, Pine Log, Taylorsville and White elementary schools and Excel Christian Academy.
Choices of media include graphite, colored pencils, crayon, marker, oil and chalk pastels, watercolors, tempera, acrylics, printmaking, photography, fiber art, metal embossing, ceramics, paper collage, mixed-media drawings and sculptures and artworks using found objects.
“With the inclusion of online assignments, we have the largest variety of media ever displayed in The Primary and Elementary School Art Exhibit,” Martin said. “With digital-learning assignments, we have new media in chalk art, window art and nature art.”
Seeing how much students have accomplished in the past year is “always wonderful,” Martin said.
“They have made some really impressive pieces in the classroom and in their lessons at home,” she said. “I love that these artists were able to continue their art education through digital learning.”
Though the exhibit isn’t physically inside the museum, there is one piece that will be hanging in the Children’s Gallery in the future – the Purchase Award winner.
The museum buys one piece of art from the annual exhibition to keep on permanent display with other student works in the gallery.
For the 2020 Purchase Award, the education department chose Allatoona fifth-grader Sophia Vasquez-Munguia’s yarn painting titled “Mountain Falls.”
“Our Purchase Award selection is based on excellence in composition, technical skill, execution and subject matter,” Martin said. “Sophia created a beautiful landscape through ‘yarn painting’ that showed depth and detail. She included a lovely sunset, highlights in a waterfall, depth in the water and texture in her trees. We were impressed with Sophia’s ability to convey that detail through yarn.”
Sophia, 11, was thrilled when her art teacher, Kaycie Nix, called her last Wednesday to tell her about the award.
“I felt so happy and excited and surprised that I won the Purchase Award,” she said. “I think that it’s amazing having one of my artworks hanging in the Booth Museum.”
Nix was just as excited.
“I am so proud of her,” she said. “If anyone is deserving of this award, it is Sophia. She has a natural talent and takes pride in her artwork. Every piece she has worked on in class, she tries her best and takes her time to get a wonderful product. We will see great things from her in the future. I’m glad to be a part of that.”
The fiber art piece was a class assignment Sophia had done before schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I did the piece that I did because the teacher had asked us to do some kind of artwork with yarn so I decided to do a landscape including nature since it’s where I get most of my inspiration from,” the daughter of Dora Munguia and Eduardo Vasquez of Acworth said.
Nix said she chose the work of art for the exhibition “because of the process she took and final product outcome.”
“She sketched out her idea, drew and labeled the colors she wanted to use then executed it precisely,” she said. “I liked her piece and chose her piece because of how neat it was, her craftmanship and her attention to details.”
As the Purchase Award winner, Sophia will receive a $50 check and a certificate that will be mailed to her.
“We are hoping to invite her to the museum in the summer or fall to take a picture next to her framed artwork,” Martin said.
To view the 27-page flipbook exhibit, visit https://online.pubhtml5.com/dujs/mtkd/#p=1.
The Middle and High School Art Exhibition, which was featured in the Borderlands Gallery in March and April, also was turned into a digital flipbook and is available for viewing on the Kids and Families page at www.boothmuseum.org, Martin added.