This past month marked the Sixth Annual Kids Art Month in the town of Selbyville. Work from students in area schools, along with assistance from the town’s Community Club, the Selbyville Library and other sponsors, was featured in a judging earlier month, and much of the art will be displayed in local businesses in Selbyville and Berlin, Md. in weeks to come.
“We had a very nice group of kids participate who are incredibly talented,” said Jackie Bates, with the Selbyville Community Club. “Indian River School Board Superintendent Susan Bunting was present for the event, and the mayor stopped by to hand out awards. The entire town and community has been very supportive of the arts, and without them, the future is not recorded.”
Generous donations from local businesses and grants helped to recognize students and award them for their efforts. A forum was held for the students, as well, in which the panel of judges were able to meet some of the young budding artists. Students from Indian River High School, Selbyville Middle, Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Phillip C. Showell and home schooled students participated in the youth art month.
“Our entire school year is dedicated to visual arts,” noted Jamie Moore, art teacher at Southern Delaware School of the Arts (SDSA). “We teach through the arts. Art has a means of educating, and seminars have confirmed we’re on track with how the brain responds to art. It’s great to have a community supporting it as well. The town of Selbyville and the town council has been a wonderful supporter for many years.” Moore, now in her fourth year at SDSA, has been teaching for 35 years, and is an artist, herself.
“It’s really great to get a show like the one put on at the library,” she said. “Art is part of our cultural heritage and our history. In ancient civilization, art survived and that’s how we perceive things. All of the arts hold a mirror to society and say, ‘This is what we look like. Do you like what you see?’ that’s our job.” She explained the correlation of art into today’s politics and religion, as well. “Art is the fabric of who we are,” she said. “Everything is pulled together. We lose track of it sometimes because we get involved in other things, but it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. We want to have well-rounded kids — an educationally cultured person, and art balances that out.”
The area has become synonymous with visual and performing arts, with an aesthetic draw to the shore, but Moore would like to see additional movement away from the beaches, too. “You have to have the community behind art and value it,” she noted, “and fortunately, we have that here. I want our kids to see where they can go with art, too.” Moore frequently takes her students on trips to the National Gallery of Art, as well as Philadelphia and Baltimore art museums for inspiration.
“This area is rich in the arts,” she said. “I feel very supported here and appreciated, not just in the school but in the community. Sometimes, you have teachers who love teaching and some teach because they love subject. I’m fortunate to have both here.”
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled through April to notice works from young artists throughout the community. The West 54 Cafe in Fenwick Island will also recognize March as Kids’ Art Month this Sunday, March 28, for their second installment of their monthly art shows. Works from local artists from when they were children will be on display on Sunday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. “We’ve had a lot of success with our first show,” said Evelyn Baione, owner of West 54 Cafe, “and it’s great to be able to recognize talented, local artists.”