Community Art Show to display the most artwork to date

Palmyra’s Community Center Program Board will host it’s 2017 Spring Art Show from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Palmyra Community Center Program Board will host its 2017 Spring Art Show on Friday, May 5. Since starting the show four years ago, Charles Street School art instructor Jeff Graiff has watched it grow into something bigger than he could have anticipated.

The art show has become the community center’s most well-attended event of the year, according to this year’s event organizer Lee Stoner. The event allows Palmyra residents to shop for pieces of art made by their fellow residents, participate in creating art with a canvas project and displays student artwork from both Charles Street School and Palmyra High School.

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The goal is to raise funds for the community center while also fostering the arts in the local community, Stoner said. While the number of pieces on display is still being determined, this year’s show has the most professional artists to date with 10 artists local to Palmyra displaying their work, she said.

The evening will showcase both student and professional work in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawings, photographs and decor.

Four years ago, the show came about when Graiff submitted students’ work to be displayed at a showcase by the Art Educators of New Jersey. When Graiff went to the event, he was frustrated by the treatment students’ work had gotten. He said the pieces were practically hidden from view down a side hallway, and so, he started thinking about finding a better way to showcase his students’ art on his own.

“I wanted to do something that showcased and represented the students and people that live here in a positive way,” Graiff said.

Since approaching the community center board with his idea, the event has grown every year and includes the work of professional artists. Graiff said there is a real sense of accomplishment for the selected students to have their pieces displayed alongside the work of professional artists.

“It gives them hope to say if they are talented there are outlets for them to grow in the future,” Graiff said. “They can make a career out of it, and it’s not just closed off to something inside of a classroom.”

Palmyra High School art teacher Mike Budden echoed Graiff’s sentiments.

“It is always nice for the students to have their work exhibited, and I hear many compliments from parents and students who view the show at the community center,” Budden said.

Budden said the show comes at the right time of year for the high school, as student pieces have just been returned from the Teen Arts Festival and all the art is ready for display. Budden said he has students’ work professionally framed or matted.

Stoner said an exciting aspect of the night for the public is creating their own artwork. An instructor will show residents step-by-step how to create a spring-themed wooden sign.

With the greatest event attendance of the year, Stoner said her hope is residents not only learn more about art but are encouraged to get involved at their local community center.

The art show will be open to the public from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 5. For more information or to register for the night’s art instruction, visit http://boroughofpalmyra.com/community-center.

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