February 24, 2022
Contact: Mary Ellms, [email protected]

Waterville Creates Announces Youth Art Month Exhibition and Launch of Youth Arts Access Fund

WATERVILLE, Maine – Waterville Creates, a non-profit supporting and promoting high-quality, accessible arts and cultural programs in central Maine, is excited to host the 8th Youth Art Month (YAM) exhibition at Ticonic Gallery and Railroad Square Cinema from March 1-31, 2022. Established in 1961, YAM is a national program designed to celebrate visual art education for grades K – 12 with a goal to increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through active participation in exhibitions, workshops, and other creative ventures. This year’s YAM theme is “Art Connects Us.”

Sponsored by the Colby College Museum of Art and the City of Waterville, this year’s YAM exhibition will include the work of aspiring youth artists from 19 participating schools. Connecting to this year’s theme, students were asked to create art on hexagonal wood panels in response to the questions “What do you love about where you live?” or “What do you love about your community?” Designed to be an interactive installation, the exhibition will have panels available for visitors to create their own artistic responses to these questions.

In conjunction with YAM, Waterville Creates is thrilled to announce the launch of the Youth Arts Access Fund (YAAF) on March 1. Established under the belief that all youth, regardless of income, ability, or background, should have access to outstanding arts programming and arts education opportunities, YAAF is designed to support free admission for youth ages 18 and under to the full range of programming offered by Waterville Creates and its divisions, including art classes and camps, community theatre productions, live music, and film programming. The launch of YAAF also echoes another key goal of YAM—to increase community, business, and governmental support for art education. Formally established with an initial $15,000 grant from the Raymond J. and Mary C. Reisert Foundation, YAAF has received additional support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust and the Colby College Center for the Arts and Humanities.

“The Reisert Foundation is pleased to support the Youth Access Fund, and we encourage others to join us in the effort to broaden accessibility to the arts and art education in the Waterville area,” said Susan Reisert, foundation board member and secretary. “We believe strongly in the significance of the arts and arts education for a thriving community. All children and young people should have access to quality arts programming.”

“While Waterville Creates has offered scholarship support in the past as the budget has allowed, the launch of the Youth Arts Access Fund represents a commitment to sustained, dedicated funding to remove cost as a barrier to participation,” says Shannon Haines, president + CEO of Waterville Creates.

“This was my first time getting to see a professional play,” said Hannah Nelson, a student at Waterville Alternative High School who received a free ticket to attend a performance of “Clue” at the Waterville Opera House after participating in a set design and scenic painting workshop for teens offered by Waterville Creates. “The play was incredible, and it was nice to have the chance to get dressed up and do something fun in Waterville.” Nelson then returned to the Opera House to assist with painting the set of “The Mousetrap” through a pilot apprenticeship program offered by Waterville Creates.

For more information on YAM, please visit our website. Ticonic Gallery is free and open to the public Monday – Friday from 12 – 5 p.m. Railroad Square Cinema Lobby is free and open to the public Monday-Sunday from 2 – 9 p.m. All gallery visitors are required to wear masks.

More information about the Youth Arts Access Fund, including a link to donate to the fund, can be found on the Waterville Creates website.

YAM 2022 Participating schools: Albert S. Hall School, Bloomfield Elementary School, Canaan Elementary School, Carrabec High School, George J. Mitchell School, Madison Elementary School, Madison Junior High School, Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Maine Arts Academy, Messalonskee High School, Messalonskee Middle School, Mount Merici Academy, North Elementary School, Skowhegan High School, Warsaw Middle School, Waterville Alternative High School, Waterville High School, Winslow High School, Winslow Junior High School

About Waterville Creates
Waterville Creates connects artists, organizations, and the public with arts and cultural events and programs happening in our community. Supporting and promoting arts education, exhibitions, theatre, film, music, and dance that is accessible to all, Waterville Creates is leading the effort to make Waterville an exciting cultural destination and a thriving, vibrant community. For more information about Waterville Creates, visit watervillecreates.org.