Weekend visitors to downtown Centralia were treated to an art gala Friday night at the Rectangle Gallery & Creative Space.
Gallery owner Jan Nontell explained the gala featured emerging artists between the ages of 13 and 18 to help introduce them to the professional art world. In total, nine young artists displayed their work.
“I want this to be as much of a learning experience as possible. To provoke this age group and younger, I try my best to treat them like real, adult artists because it’s kind of what they are. They’re real artists still,” Nontell said.
Nontell said another emerging artists gala is scheduled for August, and a young artists gala featuring work done by children ages seven through 12 is scheduled for April.
“Starting with the August show, we’re gonna have a cutoff day for signups. Then we’re gonna do a class with all the artists together on pricing, framing, artist’s statements, how to sell your art, what is it when you don’t sell, everything an artist needs to know. Then they’re going to help me hang it up,” Nontell said.
Nontell requires artists to have parental consent as she has them sign contracts to display and sell their work in the gallery.
All nine artists brought different styles of work to the show. Acrylic and watercolor paintings, collage work, pencil work, photography and even tiny clay jewelry were featured among the rest of the gallery’s art for sale.
Each artist had different inspirations for what drove them.
“I did something on mental health awareness. I also like adding a lot of colors into what could seem to be maybe a sad picture,” said Kaycee Horrace, a sophomore at Toledo High School, of her piece titled “Golden Gate.”
Arlo Phillips, a W.F. West High School junior, expressed their love of Greek mythology through book page collages and sketches.
Nature was also an inspiration for several other artists, as art pieces featured horses, a cobra and even the Greenland shark.
“He’s just lonely because the species is rapidly declining because sharks are hunted for sport and Greenland sharks have the tendency to get caught in fishing nets. They also don’t mature until they’re about 100 years old, very few sharks survive until they're old enough to reproduce,” said Anna Gunter, a home-schooled freshman, of her piece titled “Bob the Sad Shark.”
All of the pieces will remain on display for the rest of the month and are for sale at the Rectangle Gallery & Creative Space, located at 209 N. Tower Ave. in downtown Centralia.
Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Young artists looking to show off work at the gallery in either the young artists gala in April or the next emerging artist gala in August can email Nontell at firstname.lastname@example.org.