Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

High School Talent Shines!

By F. Lennox Campello

Last month I had the honor and pleasure to jury The Friends of The Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery’s 18th Annual High School Student Art Exhibition. This art competition is an annual event for all high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from Montgomery County, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC.

To say that I was astounded by the quality of this show would be a gigantic understatement!

And I decided to focus this month’s column on that exhibition – and the associated annual call for High School artists. In part because I was so impressed by the work, but also because I was disappointed to see that very few Northern Virginia and DC students submitted work.

I want you to take this column, cut it out of the newspaper, and pass it to a High School art teacher.

Dear High School Art Teacher: Make a note of this – and contact the The Friends of The Yellow Barn Studio ( so that you get the call next year and pass it to your students!

Look at the examples of the work… prepare to be astounded!

Let me tell you, after several decades of jurying, curating, reviewing, and looking at hundreds of art competitions, exhibitions, and fairs, it is rare for me to walk into a room full of art awaiting to be juried, and still be completely (and pleasantly) surprised by the extraordinary amount of talent, creativity and skill present in that room!

And yet this was exactly the case with this competition: It must be clear to the most casual observer, that once you view the works that I selected for this show, that there’s an extraordinary abundance of artistic capital in these young minds.

The award winners and selected artists must be congratulated for this achievement. The level of this competition was very high and it was an exceedingly difficult process to jury. Additionally, there were several outstanding works of art that could easily have been included for awards.

To the selected artists: I encourage each one of you to continue to press on with your artistic gifts – you are at the beginning of a lifetime of creation and I charge each and every one of you to continue to leave an artistic footprint as you mature in life.

To their High School art teachers: Congratulations on helping to develop such young talent!

More good news: Artomatic is back in 2017 in Crystal City!

“By artists and for everyone,” Artomatic is well-known for temporarily transforming empty spaces into vibrant arts events that celebrate creativity and create a unique and exciting opportunity for tens of thousands of visitors. This is the show that we all love, and art critics hate (mostly because they usually don’t have the mental batteries to write about an art show that can include 1,000 non-juried artists!).

Anyone and everyone can present their art at Artomatic, and presentation spaces are always selected on a first-come, first serve basis — so it’s a great way to discover new art and artists. This is what makes this show unique on the planet – it is a great charging of artistic batteries for artists, and a great place for beginner and experienced collectors to pick among the 100s of artists to find that gem!

In addition to visual art Artomatic also features a range of performing art forms throughout the exhibition – live music, dance, spoken word, comedy as well as professional development series and special events showcases. Every night of the event, thousands of people visit Artomatic to discover new art, grab a drink, listen to music, go on dates, and mingle with the creative community. No matter what kind of creative events you like, you’ll find something to like at Artomatic.

“We are very excited to be working again with the Crystal City BID, a constant champion of the arts, to create a unique, invigorating and brand new artistic experience for all visitors to enjoy”, said Jennifer Williamson, current Artomatic Board President.

“We first brought Artomatic to Crystal City in 2007 in order to demonstrate the transformation that was already in progress – a new main street, fun restaurants – as well as to underscore how easily accessible our neighborhood is from DC. The second showing in 2012 helped us further showcase our emerging arts and innovation scene,” said Crystal City BID President/CEO Angela Fox. “Now in our third iteration, we are excited to mark the beginning of the next generation of growth, engagement and creativity for Crystal City.”

The exhibition runs through May 6 at Vornado/Charles E. Smith, 1800 S. Bell Street, Crystal City – and as always: Free!

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