BELFAST — Two hundred original works by Waldo County’s next generation of artists will be on display throughout the month of March. In addition to “taking over” both galleries at Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., this year’s showcase overflows into the Kramer Gallery at the Belfast Free Library and to more than 20 shop windows throughout downtown Belfast. This epic display of creativity will inspire viewers of all ages and is a must-see.

“Youth Art Month” is not just about looking at the creations of inspired kids — it is about recognizing art educators for what they do and the value they bring to the lives of students and our community. Art teachers, in particular, had an incredibly challenging task over the past two years — at the start of the pandemic, sharing materials was out of the question due to concerns about surface-contagion. Teachers stretched their creativity to the limit, inventing ways to teach skills and techniques: many times without materials at all, or by securing enough materials for every student to have their own set. They then had to develop systems to sanitize all of these materials between back-to-back classes.

Bridget Matros, Kids & Families Programs Manager at Waterfall Arts, explains, “Art teachers did all this while exposing themselves to hundreds of different kids every week, many teachers traveling between schools, because they and their administrators know that the arts are more important now than ever to combat students’ stress and feelings of powerlessness during the pandemic.”

The 2022 show will include work from Captain Albert Stephens Elementary (Belfast), Kermit Nickerson Elementary (Swanville), Troy Howard Middle School (Belfast), Belfast Area High School, Searsport Middle and High Schools, Leroy Smith Elementary and Wagner Middle School (Winterport), Ames Elementary (Searsmont), East Belfast Elementary, Gladys Weymouth Elementary (Morrill), and Hampden Academy.

Downtown Belfast shop windows, the Belfast Free Library, and Waterfall Arts hallways and gallery will collectively feature work submitted independently by Waldo County creatives younger than 18.

Names and locations of artwork selected for the library or in-town display will be posted on the Waterfall Arts Facebook page and waterfallarts.org.

Waterfall Arts gallery hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Belfast Free Library hours vary and can be found at belfastlibrary.org. Downtown shop windows “gallery” hours will remain open 24/7. The exhibition opens March 4 and ends March 31.

This event is proudly sponsored by Stanley Chevrolet, Buick.

Launched in 2000, Waterfall Arts is a community arts center that offers resources to arts enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. The public is welcome to engage in the arts through classes, exhibitions, art events, performances, public art projects, open studios (in clay, glass, print, and darkroom photography) and more. For more information, visit waterfallarts.org or call 207-338-2222.

For more information, contact Chris Battaglia at 207-338-2222 or chris@waterfallarts.org, or Bridget Matros at bridget@waterfallarts.org.