FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, November 30, 2023—For the first time, local middle and high school artists will have their work on display in Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building in a student-juried art exhibition. Share, Like, Create opens Friday, December 1, and will be free to view that day as part of Downtown Bellingham’s First Fridays monthly celebration.
The exhibition is juried by the museum’s Youth Advisory Council (or ‘YAC’), which launched in 2022. YACs, as they call themselves, are high school students who serve as a conduit between the museum and Whatcom County teens by leading activities, programs, and educational experiences while also increasing teen representation in museum spaces.
“The Youth Advisory Council loves seeing artwork from our peers, so we thought it would be a good opportunity for them to have their work displayed in the museum. Teen voices often are not respected as much as adults”, so we think it’s fair that local teens get recognition for their art, too,” said Squalicum High School YAC member River Thut.
The call to artists sought submissions of any 2D visual medium – from video and photography to painting, digital art, and illustration – that speaks to the theme “moments of learning and growth.” Nearly 40 artworks are featured in the exhibition, each having been scored anonymously by the Youth Advisory Council according to a standard jurying rubric. The three top-ranked pieces are:
“Everyone talks about how being young, and especially being a teenager, is a time for growing and learning,” added Thut, “so we thought this would be an appropriate theme for teen artists to respond to with their artwork.”
Share, Like, Create will be on view in the Lightcatcher (250 Flora St.) through February 25, 2024, and coincides with Bellingham National, the museum’s biennial juried art exhibition for professional artists from around the country. Visitors are invited to view both and observe the vast and varied ways artists approach a given topic. For Bellingham National, this year’s theme is “healing and repair.”
“These artists are authentically sharing their perspectives about the physical, emotional, and mental growth they’ve experienced, and it’s been such a pleasure to see the quality and breadth of work submitted,” said Whatcom Museum Educator Bridget Girnus. “We look forward to offering this exhibition again in 2024.”
The museum’s Youth Advisory Council consists of 13 students representing Sehome, Bellingham, and Squalicum High Schools. Each council member serves for 1-2 years, during which time they develop and lead student-centered museum programming and have launched a zine of original art and podcast series. They also serve as an invaluable volunteer corps, assisting with summer camps, community events, and gallery openings.
Middle and high school students interested in submitting artwork for next year’s show should follow the Whatcom Museum on Instagram (@whatcom_museum) and look for a call to artists in late spring. High school students who would like to join the Youth Advisory Council can email Bridget Girnus for more information.
A press kit is available here with a list of participating student artists as well as a selection of images approved for use by the media.
About the Whatcom Museum
The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, tours, and activities about art, nature, and Northwest history for all ages. Its multi-building campus is in the heart of Bellingham’s downtown Arts District. The Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., and Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., are open Wednesdays – Sundays, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. For more information about our exhibitions and admission visit www.whatcommuseum.org.
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