The Future of Art: Youth Art Month 2022 at The Grace Museum

Issue 3: March 23, 2022

On March 10th, as part of Abilene’s ArtWalk, presented by the Center for Contemporary Arts, The Grace Museum opened its doors for free to all art lovers and enthusiasts. On the second floor was Youth Art Month 2022 featuring art from public and homeschool groups around the Region 14 district.

It was fun looking at all the artwork from kindergarten to 12th grade. It was interesting seeing the art grow more sophisticated as I progressed through the exhibition and witnessed the community’s growth artistically.

As I appreciated the art, it was fun guessing what the assignment for each series of artworks was and examining the many different interpretations of the same assignment. The elementary artwork brought a sense of nostalgia. Overall, the elementary art displayed exercises with shapes, color, patterns, and different mediums such as paint, crayon, string, etc. It was a visual representation of the children’s creative development and excitement for learning and playing with different colors and materials.

The middle school artwork gave me a similar feeling. I could see the students using new art techniques to express themselves and their feelings through their art. The art seemed more personal to each student. As middle school is a time where many students begin to figure out their personalities, who they are, and who they want to be within their culture, I felt like each student’s personality showed more through their art. It was amusing viewing pop culture references to franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel in their art. It was like catching a glimpse of the middle-school culture and what interests them.

The high school art seemed the most eclectic and varied to me as art teachers may have given the students more leeway when submitting assignments. Much of the artwork became more complex with more advanced forms of shading, color-blending, and perspective. Some art even incorporated complex critiques of culture and society, evoking much more emotion in their art.

On the third floor was a succulent themed Make-n-Take art activity led by Katie Nelson, one of the outreach teachers that work with The Grace. As part of her work, she visits different schools in the Abilene area and leads different art activities and lessons.

“We teach mostly elementary school,” she said, “[The kids] love it. They’re always excited.”

Katie Nelson gave me new insight on the importance of art education for young students.

“It’s not just making a pretty picture,” she said, “Children learn how to follow instructions, practice hand-eye coordination and develop their motor skills. Technical science is involved as well as they learn about horizon lines and shadows.”

This gave me a deeper appreciation for the Youth Art Month 2022 exhibit I had just walked through. Those pictures were snapshots of their development and growth in coordination and creativity. Art is not just creating aesthetically pleasing work, it’s a form of development and expression. It’s a way to teach different concepts like perspective, shading, and proportions. As school curriculums focus on S.T.E.M. subjects, the arts and humanities are sometimes left behind and forgotten, but teachers like Katie Nelson work to keep these art classes going.

“The Grace offers art camps here in the summer,” Nelson said, “We need creative people. We need innovators. People have a natural need to create whether it’s crafts, needlework, or gardening. My favorite medium is painting, probably watercolor and acrylic ink.”

If you want to partake in the joys of creating art but feel intimidated, just start and work at your craft.

“Anybody can do it. Anybody can get better,” Nelson said, “I know people who taught themselves with online videos. You have to practice. It’s okay if it takes you a long time to learn how to draw a face. People can be too hard on themselves.”

The art from the Youth Art Month 2022 exhibit reinvigorated my appreciation for creativity and crafts. Art isn’t reserved for the born-talented, art is for everyone! Art can be a sculpture, a photo, a painting, or some yarn glued onto paper. The work of these young artists inspired me to continue in my own creative journey. If you want to take a look at their work after the closing of the exhibit, The Grace posted on their website:

If you are interested in what future art exhibitions The Grace Museum has to offer, they are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are free every Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can check out their website for further details at