FMAAA teams up with Empowering Families

April events showcase area youth at art gallery


FORT MADISON - The FMAAA Art Center is teaming up with Empowering Families of the Lee County Health Department with a focus on youth in April while bringing awareness to child abuse prevention month.
Empowering Families is sponsoring the April High School Exhibition, which brings together student artists from across the region for an annual exhibition and friendly competition across several categories.
The High School show will feature several 2D categories like drawing, painting in a variety of mediums, photography, and possibly mixed media and digital art. 3D categories generally include pottery/ceramics and sculpture, though 3D mixed media have also been submitted in past years.
“This is a fantastic exhibition of student work. I am always blown away by the talent we see from our area youth artists. It is a real testament to the quality of the instruction and to the creativity of our young people,” said Lori Illner Greene, Executive Director of the FMAAA Art Center.
“It seemed natural to team up with Empowering Families for April as we seek ways to support youth and provide outlets for creative expression with our new Art Connections initiative.”
The Art Opening Reception for High School artists is Thursday, April 4 from 5pm to 7pm. Art openings are always free to attend and open to the public.
The FMAAA has several free programs geared towards youth this month, along with some fundraising to support youth initiatives at the Art Center.
A free youth coloring contest begins Wednesday, April 3. The theme of this contest comes from Pinwheels for PREVENTION, from Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. Participants can pick up a coloring sheet or they can color at the Art Center during regular business hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The FMAAA Art Center will also have a booth during the Kid’s Carnival at the Fort Madison High School on Saturday, April 20th with coloring sheets and supplies on hand to provide a last chance to participate in the contest. Coloring contest submissions are due into the Art Center by 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 24 and the contest art submissions will be on display through April 30th in the new Pop-up Gallery for mini art exhibitions at the FMAAA Art Center.
More free or low-cost programs are also on the horizon. The FMAAA Art Center will once again benefit from a capacity building program offered by Volunteer Iowa who oversees VISTA volunteerism in the State of Iowa. Securing Jeri Sparks, local artist and AmeriCorps VISTA who fills the role of Program Director for one more year means the Art Center will continue to advance its Arts Connections initiatives.
Art Connections is a new program that provides a variety of creative opportunities targeted at developmentally disabled, youth, and hopefully eventually veterans. A qualified instructor is now secured and Art Connects is kicking off soon with programs planned for developmentally disabled individuals.
An April Showers paint-along fundraiser to benefit Art Connections occurs Wednesday April 10 led by Jeri Sparks with participants painting a charming acrylic canvas of a child in big rubber boots with an umbrella. You do not need to be an experienced painter to participate. Registration costs $50 per person and is going on now at
Finish out the month with more high school programming. Lunch ala Art is a lunch and gallery talk which occurs at the end of most exhibitions and this month is on Friday, April 26 at noon. The gallery talk at 12:30 p.m. is free to attend as youth artists describe some of their art impulses and expectations for future involvement with art.
If you would like to attend the luncheon at noon, reservations are recommended and the cost for lunch is $10. Later in the evening attend FINALE, a free performance event, featuring members of the FMHS jazz band.
Other community wide programming also scheduled for April 26 includes a Plein Air competition at the FMAAA Art Center with winners announced at 6pm and a SOUP Supper fundraiser from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. across the street in the former Shug’s toy store just before FINALE kicks off at 7 p.m. at the same location.
Visiting the FMAAA Art Center to take in the ever-changing exhibitions is always free. The High School exhibition will run from April 4 to the 30th. The coloring contest will run from April 20 to the 30th as well. The Plein Air competition will open on April 26 and run until May 11. The Main Gallery will feature an exhibition of figurative oil paintings by Macomb, IL artist Janice Rockwell for the month of May.
Wednesday, April 3; Coloring Contest kick off
Thursday, April 4; 5-7pm  High School Art Exhibition Opening Reception
Wednesday, April 10; 6-8pm  April Showers paint-a-long, registration required
Saturday, April 20; Coloring Contest deadline to enter 5pm
1-3:30 p.m. Kid’s Carnival at FMHS // FMAAA Art Center booth
Friday, April 26; noon Lunch ala Art; 12:30 Gallery talk by area high school artists; 3 p.m. Plein Air competition deadline: 5-7 p.m.  SOUP Supper fundraiser to benefit Spoonfest; 6 p.m. Plein Air competition winners announced; 7-9 p.m. April FINALE featuring FMHS jazz band.

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