Artspace celebrates 50th annual Teen Art Show, grant award

Artspace Community Arts Center Board President Stephen Hussey hangs artwork for the 50th annual Teen Art Show at the Mill Street gallery in Greenfield.

Artspace Community Arts Center Board President Stephen Hussey hangs artwork for the 50th annual Teen Art Show at the Mill Street gallery in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Artspace Community Arts Center Board President Stephen Hussey hangs artwork for the 50th annual Teen Art Show at the Mill Street gallery in Greenfield.

Artspace Community Arts Center Board President Stephen Hussey hangs artwork for the 50th annual Teen Art Show at the Mill Street gallery in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Artwork by Academy at Charlemont student Brooke Lane that is on display in the 50th annual Teen Art Show at Artspace Community Arts Center in Greenfield.

Artwork by Academy at Charlemont student Brooke Lane that is on display in the 50th annual Teen Art Show at Artspace Community Arts Center in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Office Manager Jillian Henry and Board President Stephen Hussey arrange artwork for the 50th annual Teen Art Show at Artspace Community Arts Center in Greenfield.

Office Manager Jillian Henry and Board President Stephen Hussey arrange artwork for the 50th annual Teen Art Show at Artspace Community Arts Center in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By LIESEL NYGARD

For the Recorder

Published: 02-23-2024 1:50 PM

Not only has Greenfield’s Artspace Community Arts Center begun its 50th annual Teen Art Show, but it has also received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that will help support its overall mission.

Artspace was one of a small handful of organizations in Franklin County to have received this support from the NEA. With this grant, the Mill Street gallery will be able to provide some of the artists who present their work there and curators for group shows with “modest stipends.” The grant will also help with paying commissions for artwork.

“It’s really amazing,” said Artspace Executive Director Madeline Miller. “I think that the NEA really heard the argument that we were making — it really critically important for a rural community to have a gallery that is open to community members to exhibit their work.”

Aside from the grant, Artspace is also presenting its 50th annual Teen Art Show. The exhibit is on display until its closing reception on Friday, March 15, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Approximately 30 students from area schools, including The Academy at Charlemont, Bement School, Greenfield High School, Eaglebrook School, Franklin County Technical School, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Pioneer Valley Regional School and Stoneleigh-Burnham School, are presenting their artwork. Miller said there’s a variety of mediums on display, including woodwork, stone carving, mixed media, ceramics, metalwork, photography, oils, acrylics and more.

Ryn Haigh Wilsey, a senior at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, has submitted two ceramic plates and a cup that they created for a breakfast set assignment in the fall.

Inspired by their grandmother, a ceramicist who made plates depicting mountain scenery, Haigh Wilsey added their own touch with a “little house” and a landscape.

“I wanted to do my own touch that was more colorful,” Haigh Wilsey explained. “I wanted to make my own to think about her.”

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This is Haigh Wilsey’s second year participating in Artspace’s Teen Art Show. Last year, they presented a self-portrait oil painting.

“It was about different gendered bathrooms and how that makes me feel,” Haigh Wilsey recounted. “Last year I was exploring my identity as a non-binary person and I painted myself standing in a blue sweater in front of a door that just says ‘ladies’ or ‘women,’ and then on top of the door there was a comic that I drew about my experience [with] finding my identity.”

Another student participating in the art show is Eaglebrook freshman Ryan Chen, who is presenting two oil paintings named “Refraction and Reflection” and “Set Sail Before the Midnight Sun.”

“Refraction and Reflection” is a self-portrait, depicting Chen’s life in New York City, specifically riding the subway. Chen said the reflected colors and shapes in the painting’s background “make it really abstract” while the overall painting is a “reflection with more reflection.”

Chen’s second painting, “Set Sail Before the Midnight Sun,” was inspired by Dutch and British marine art. It depicts Chen’s dorm room two years ago before winter break where “everything was in a hurry” and students were departing.

Chen began working on both paintings while at Eaglebrook and continued to work on them during a summer program in New York City.

“I spent so many hours working on those paintings but never really got an opportunity to show them,” Chen said, adding that the Artspace exhibit is “a great opportunity for me to finally demonstrate my art.”

For more information about the 50th annual Teen Art Show, including gallery hours, visit artspacegreenfield.org.