Creative works from Maine art students will be on display during the month of March at the Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square. This multi-media exhibition, sponsored by Maine Art Education Association, highlights Youth Art Month, a national celebration sponsored by the Council for Art Education.

The annual celebration, which typically takes place in March, emphasizes the value of art education for all children and encourages support for quality art programs in Maine schools. This event marks 24 years of collaboration between the Portland Museum of Art and the Maine Art Education Association to celebrate student creativity from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The majority of the state is well represented, with 102 artworks by students from 10 counties. Art educators who are members of the Maine Art Education Association select one artwork per school for submission to the exhibition. It is a thrill for young people and their families to view student artwork displayed in this prestigious venue.

The exhibition runs Thursday, March 1, through April 1 on the lower ground floor of the downtown PMA. The celebratory opening reception is Saturday, March 3, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Presentation of certificates will start with kindergarten to third grade at 4:30 p.m.; fourth to seventh grades at 5:30 p.m.; and eighth to 12th grade at 6:30 p.m.

Guest speakers for the March 3 event include representatives from the Portland Museum of Art and honorees as named by the Maine Art Education Association. This year’s Art Advocate of the Year award recognizes the Maine Education Association for long-standing support of arts education and youth creativity. Teacher Deb Bickford from Westbrook High School will be speaking as MAEA’s 2018 Art Educator of the Year.

Midcoast high schools represented this year include Camden Hills Regional High School of Rockport. Teacher Carolyn Brown gave an assignment to create a portrait of someone students admire, inspired by Robert Shetterly’s Americans Who Tell the Truth series. Sophomore Annika Charland created a portrait of Malala Yousafzai using thousands of impressions of inked stamps.

Belfast Area High School art teacher Heidi O’Donnell’s student Ayla Fitzjurls, a junior, has a digital photograph titled “The Space Child” in the PMA show.

Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro has two entries in this year’s show. Brooke Holland’s student Emily Wiley, a senior, has a digital photograph titled “Snow and Ike.” And Krisanne Baker’s student William Cox, a junior, has an oil and mixed media titled “Feu dans La Mer (Fire in the Sea).”

Admission to the Youth Art Month exhibition is free the day of the opening for Youth Art Month participants, their families and teachers (children younger than age 15 are always free). PMA will offer a special family art-making program, Stormy Seascapes, from noon to 3 p.m.

For more information on the Youth Art Month exhibition, visit PMA admission is always free Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.