The Fresno Art scene is embracing young talent of the Art Venture Academy
It’s a great time see student work in Fresno.
The Fresno Art Council’s Art Hop is a big deal for artists and art lovers. When you go to Art Hop you have an opportunity to see a variety and range of art that’s comparable to large cities. Now our city is taking note of young talent; teens and elementary student’s art on display in museums and galleries.
Art Venture Academy is an educational program that’s helping bring adolescent artists to the public eye. Recently, I sat down with Jessica Ketchum to discuss the blossoming young artists around town. Jessica is an art teacher at McLane High school and part of the Art Venture program.
Mrs. Ketchum’s passion is helping students develop pride in their work. Not only does she educate, she’s a talented artist in her own right, she makes a mean charcuterie, collects midcentury modern furniture, and adores cacti and succulents. I could tell she was artistic because she ordered duck wings at The Mad Duck when we met up for an interview. I’m just kidding. I’m sure people’s exotic food preferences have nothing to do with anything.
Once I had admired her adventurous food selections, I was able to find out more about Art Venture Academy. According to Mrs. Ketchum, Art Venture Academy is about giving voice to the voiceless (at this point I felt immature for joking about duck wings, because there really are serious issues being addressed here). Accordingly, students in the program are exposed to subjects including homelessness, racism, and other social issues. Since it’s also a program that’s interdisciplinary, students not only create art that address these issues, they read about them in English class and study them in History courses. So, when you see a show from these students, you are seeing the product of a lot of research and study. It’s not just about good technique, Art Venture cares about the message that art can provide.
One of her favorite things about Art Venture Academy is seeing how it helps students develop pride in their work. She’s found that her students are more likely to express themselves with art if they feel successful at it. She believes displaying art in the community builds a sense of success for many of her students.
Mrs. Ketchum has been an art teacher in the area for about 10 years. At the beginning of every year she asks her students to raise their hand if they hate art. Inevitably quite a few hands go up. By the end of the year, her goal is to have every kid in her class be proud of at least one thing that they’ve made.
Currently you can see Art Venture student work all over the place. First, there’s a show at the Fresno Art Museum. There, McLane students explore Civil Rights in Mississippi during the 1960’s. Mrs. Ketchum explained that the show tries to explore what people did to shed light on racial tension during that time. The Fresno Art Museum is showing “Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964” until January 8th.
Another student show is opening on October 6th at First 5 building on 2405 Tulare Street. This show is an inter-district showcase of student work throughout Fresno. The theme is “Community”. Students were able to find ways to express their idea of community through art.
If you want to see what the youth of Fresno are making and saying through their art, be sure to check out these two shows. If you’re new to art, this Thursday’s Art Hop is open from 5-8 p.m. and is a great way to hop into the art scene and get your own creative juices flowing!
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