Student Art at KMA

Yesterday I went downtown to look around once more before Christmas and ended up at the Knoxville Museum of Art. They have a small gift shop with some interesting stuff, and I hadn’t been there yet to see what was available this season. It took me a while to get to the shop on the second floor because of the exhibit taking up the whole first floor. Both rooms were filled with art from local students: public school, private school, and home-schooled. There was some three-dimensional art, ceramics mostly, but the majority was on the walls. The exhibit runs through January 12th, and if you can make it by you should see what these young people are doing.

I have maintained for a long time that art is vitally important to the health of a society, and that artists see things the rest of us don’t and view what we do see from a different perspective. This glimpse into how the young artists in our midst see the world we inhabit together is well worth your time. While it’s true that most of them will not make a career of art, all of them have the ability to not only see the world in unique and interesting ways, but to translate it into a medium that allows them to share their vision with us. 

The cost of admission to KMA is telling the person at the front desk your zip code (I assume they are keeping track of where their visitors come from). It’s one of the best deals in town, and when you finish with the students, there is another floor of more established artists, plus Richard Jolley’s glass creation Cycle of Life, which takes up the entire Ann and Steve Bailey Hall (the sculpture is 105 feet long and 12 to 22 feet high, made up of thousands of component pieces). 

I recommend setting aside some time when you visit the museum. It’s food for the soul, and you know you shouldn’t rush a good meal.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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