I was recently asked to describe the Side by Side Exhibit and I wrote, “The exhibit is a rich experience in community building. The Museum opens its door to an underserved population of youth. They find acceptance at the Museum, and with the community of local artists.” The result is a beautiful exhibit but there is so much more going on.
I have been involved with Side by Side since it began 16 years ago. First as the exhibit curator, then as a collaborating artist and a teaching artist. During my years as a teaching artist I was responsible to develop and teach art classes for children with disabilities in grades 1 through 12. I took this so seriously. Not only did I want the children to learn different art techniques, I wanted them to gain confidence. At times I worried about what art medium or new skills I would teach them. Then a few years ago I had a revelation. It is not about the art at all. Art is the vehicle VSA Kentucky and the Kentucky Museum use as a means to build community for the children and their parents. Side by Side is designed to offer a creative outlet for students, reinforce inclusiveness and positive self-image, and highlight the importance of arts education in the development of our young people.
Stop by to see this beautiful exhibit with works by 18 young artists and 10 professional collaborating artists. Side by Side will be open in the Dorothy Grider Garden Gallery open through June 30.