AIGA Supports Local Art Programs for Students – You Can Help

The American Institute of Graphic Artists is a national association of graphic artists which has a local chapter in Knoxville. The goal of the non-profit organization is, “to  advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.” Our local chapter is very involved in not only supporting professional designers of all sorts, but in promoting early exploration of design and all arts.

This is evidenced in many ways, but one notable example is their annual effort to support art programs in local schools. Feeling that, “the arts are an important outlet for growing minds and many schools don’t have the budget to spend on their art classrooms,” they arrange a fundraising effort in order to fund specific art projects or specific needs, often focusing on schools whose student bodies have a high rate of poverty.

Jewelry by Kimberly Bylo, Love Life Live Life, AIGA Art Show, Knoxville, May 2017
Graphic Arts by Aaron Russell, Fistful of Tigers, AIGA Art Show, Knoxville, May 2017

That annual effort will take place tomorrow night, and will include art donated by “local professional artists and little artists, alike.” Dubbed, “Budding Creativity,” the event will take place at Relix Theatre with the goal of generating funds for local arts programs. Donations are accepted online and at the free event, but you’ll also find donated art for sale, some of it by young (and very young) artists and other pieces by known local photographers and other artists. You’ll find work by photographers Bill Foster and Shawn Poynter, for example, and artists Paris Woodhull and her mother Mary Lawrence Woodhull.

Local graphic artist  and contributor Aaron Russell, of Fistful of Tigers, on why he contributed to the fundraiser and art show said, “Growing up I was never really great at anything, except using my imagination. I would draw and make things constantly. I was lucky to have a few art teachers in school that recognized I had some talents and pushed me to use them.” Kimberly Bylo of Love Life Live Life, who contributed jewelry to the show, said, “Arts education is important, plain and simple. It helps to encourage innovation by giving students tools to see things in more than just a linear way, which can help them in whatever walk of life they choose.”

Additional art has been donated by Jennifer MacIsaac of The Basement Community Art Studio and a recent pop-up at Whole Foods offered children the opportunity to create art for the show. Plans for future events include gaining submissions from area schools.

Photograph on Aluminum by Bill Foster, Budding Creativity Show, Knoxville, May 2017

This is the fourth year for the effort and about $4,000 was raised by the first three. Schools are allowed to complete online submission forms requesting funding for various arts needs in their art departments. Funding has been provided to Norwood Elementary and to Carter High School, helping them purchase DSLRs with extra lenses for student use. Funding from the current event will be made available for application in the fall.

The event, which runs from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM looks to be a lot of fun with drinks for sale at the bar, donated food from Three Rivers Market and Makers Donuts along with additional food provided by the AIGA board. Come out, have some fun, make a donation, purchase some art and support a very good cause. You’ll find a more complete representation of some of the art available on the AIGA Facebook page.