Exhibit gives high school students the professional artist experience

April 8, 2011 

  • The Promising Picassos exhibition runs Saturday through April 16 at The Mall at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island. A opening reception will be at 6 p.m. today.

    Details: www.promisingartists.org

The Promising Picassos exhibit gives young artists the chance to experience life as professional artists. And who knows - maybe that experience will serve as inspiration for those students to bring more art into their lives. That's what the Island School Council for the Arts has been encouraging for decades.

More than 300 pieces of work from private, public and homeschooled students from Hilton Head Island and Bluffton will be on display for a week at The Mall at Shelter Cove starting Saturday as part of the annual Promising Picassos exhibit.

The exhibit enters its 19th year with organizers looking to bring more of the art world to students. The program is modeled after what professional artists typically have to do to get their work displayed, council president Mira Scott said.

Students first go through a selection process, with teachers picking work to represent each school in the show. That work goes on display with an opening reception to bring together the artists and their fans -- in this case, parents.

In the future, Scott would like to see each piece of art receive a suggested retail price, creating the opportunity for students to cash in on their hard work.

"I'd like it to be a full experience for the children," Scott said. "Why not give them an experience of what it's like to be part of a gallery?"

The council runs several programs promoting arts to local students, such as resident artist visits and the Plumb Scholarships that award money to college-bound seniors who choose to pursue artistic degrees. The council's annual An Evening of the Arts, an auction of regional artists' work, is its main fundraiser. Since it was founded in 1971, the council has paid for about $2 million worth of arts programing.

Dominique Verechia was one of those students the council helped guide into the art world. She received a Plumb Scholarship when she graduated Hilton Head Island High School in 2006 and went to Winthrop University in Rock Hill. She now lives as an artist in Rock Hill, painting, drawing and producing molded sculptures of wax and acrylic paint.

She returned the favor by contributing a piece to An Evening of the Arts while in college. She's also shown at Scott's Hilton Head gallery, Picture This.

"I guess I just can't let go of the island," Verechia said.

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