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An exhibit of youth

Annie Goodman

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The Hammond Regional Arts Center is displaying artwork by youths throughout Tangipahoa Parish for their “Young Artists Exhibition.” The exhibit is in celebration of Youth Art Month. Annie Goodman/The Lion’s Roar

In honor of National Youth Art Month, the Hammond Regional Arts Center is displaying youth’s art in its “Young Artists Exhibition.”

“It is a parish-wide collection of some of the best artwork that students have in the parish,” said HRAC Board Member Shayla Kelly. “It comes here and gets displayed for their peers to see, their parents to see, them to see. It’s a great thing for them.”

The opening reception was held on Friday, March 9 at 5 p.m. where the mayor of Hammond officially proclaimed March 2018 as Youth Art Month.

“I did this last year, a proclamation for the arts center,” said Mayor of Hammond Pete Panepinto. “We’re very involved in the arts center. As she said, the city takes care of the building. Being a state licensed contractor, I get excited about the old buildings downtown, keeping them up. A lot of the old buildings have issues with the roof leaking and things like that, old plumbing and electrical issues. So, to help keep this building up, in particular, and to have this art in here, and like tonight, to be able to have children to come and express their art, is a beautiful thing.”

Panepinto explained his delight for this event due to a history of education professions within his family.

“My mother was a teacher,” said Panepinto. “My sister was a teacher. My heart is in education, and I think it’s so important to encourage children to be the best that they can be.”

Kelly feels this exhibit gave children a voice in expressing their art.

“To display and to let people know that art in general in school for kids is still there,” said Kelly. “It’s still going strong. They’re making art, and they want to show it off. That’s why we do it. It’s for them to let them say, ‘Hey, I’m making something. Here it is.’”

Panepinto enjoyed the paintings by Mikael Jarrett featured in the gallery.

“I guess they put the exhibit they think is very good in the front,” said Panepinto. “The exhibit that was on the plywood pieces with the sports faces was so talented, but everything in here looks great. We have children that are 4-years-old exhibiting their art. It’s really special.”

Panepinto hopes attendees remember the energy within the art gallery at the exhibit.

“The fun and the excitement that you feel in the air,” said Panepinto. “You can see it from the children that are proud. They want to see their art. They come in through the door with their parents, showing their families. That’s just an expressive time for them, and it’s exciting for kids.”

Panepinto feels art is an important aspect of children’s education.

“To encourage children to express themselves through art and the fact that education is so important in everyone’s lives,” said Panepinto. “Of all things, children are the ones we need to be supporting, giving hope and encouragement to.”

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