As children’s librarians it seems that we are always looking for activities that are new and innovative, however, there are some programs that just seem to work and they become anticipated annual community events. At the Edwardsville Public Library, one of these such programs is our annual Kids Art Show. This is an event for which we invite area youth, ages 2-18 to submit their original artwork for display within the library’s youth department. Any artistic medium is accepted, and we have seen painted furniture, photography, clay sculptures, scribble drawings, paintings, etc. We ask that paper art be mounted on black paper and framed art have the necessary mounting hardware attached. The submitted artwork is labeled on the back with the child’s name and phone number and is then displayed throughout the youth library – on walls, tables, and the tops of lower shelving units. Officially the program runs for a couple of hours and is modeled after a formal art gallery reception. Family and friends of the artists are all invited, as well as the general public. Fancy snacks are served and classical music is played in the background. Attendees have the opportunity to speak with the young artists and discuss their work. The artwork is then kept on display for about a month after the event.
The program is low cost, low maintenance, and attracts a high amount of first-time library visitors. While these aspects are all beneficial to the library, the most rewarding part is seeing the young artists beam with pride when art show attendees compliment their work.
Youth Services Librarian
Edwardsville Public Library