The Real-Life Experience
Every April, Baton Rouge Gallery opens its doors for its annual REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Juried High School Exhibition, sponsored by Cordell & Ava Haymon. The exhibition shines a light on over 50 works of original art produced by students from East Baton Rouge public and private high school students, giving you the chance to see tomorrow's local art leaders today!
The aim of the exhibition is to share the talents of area students with our community while encouraging them to continue pursuing their artistic talents outside the classroom.
The exhibition also draws attention to the importance of arts education, celebrating both its positive effects on the youths of our community and the efforts of the educators that challenge their students on a daily basis.
The 2019 exhibition was presented April 2 - 25 at no cost for audiences during normal gallery hours.
The 2019 REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE
Sponsored by Cordell & Ava Haymon, the 2019 exhibition was the culmination of months of work by area students, resulting in more than 210 works submitted from over a dozen schools for possible inclusion. In keeping with the spirit of the exhibition’s title, this truly is a “real-life experience” in that not every student whose work is submitted is included in the exhibition. As professional artists find every time they seek to participate in a juried exhibition, life as a visual artist is highly competitive.
For this exhibition, a panel of three professional artists served as jurors and selected the works to be included in the show - and the prize-winning works - via a completely blind jurying process. The jurors were not made aware of the artist’s name, grade level, school, or instructor prior to the selection of any work, thus allowing them to select pieces for the show based solely on their artistic merits.
The exhibition and the artists and arts instructors that have made it possible will be celebrated during a 'First Wednesday' Opening Reception on April 3 (6 - 9 p.m.). During this special night, more than $1,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to select students in recognition of their exhibited works. The evening, which was open to the public at no cost, also included live music and refreshments.
2019 Award Winners:
Best in Show: Ireland Coates (The Dunham School)
Second Place: Henry Hanks (Zachary High)
Third Place: Allison Parker (University Lab School)
Honorable Mentions: Jennie MacQueen (BR Magnet High), Esther Luo (BR Magnet High), Katie Knight (Episcopal High), and Cana Brumfield (BR Magnet High)
Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship
In addition, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge continues its partnership with BRG in 2019, offering the Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship award to one student featured in The REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Juried High School Exhibition. The Scholarship Fund continues Dufour’s legacy by providing assistance for exceptional underclassmen students to attend private classes with recognized professional artists in the Greater Baton Rouge area.
In 2019, eight artists featured in The REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE were selected as semi-finalists for the scholarship. They are: Allison Parker (University Lab School), Ciara Venable (The Dunham School), Grace Lagattua (Central High), Mary Usher (St. Joseph’s Academy), Cana Brumfield (BR Magnet High), Katie Knight (Episcopal High), Dylan Pinckard (St. Joseph’s Academy, and Henry Hanks (Zachary High).
ARTISTS IN THE CLASSROOM
In 2015, BRG added something new to The REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE by bringing accomplished professional artists into the classroom to directly interact with students and provide insight into what life is truly like for visual artists. Classroom visits, which are offered at no cost (to students, instructors or schools), are available any time during the school year and offer high school students the opportunity to hear directly from artists about what inspired them to pursue their path, how they achieved their goals and what challenges they might encounter. This invaluable opportunity is something rarely offered to high school students and provides real, practical information for our area's youth who are interested the arts beyond the classroom.
In 2018, more than a half dozen artists visited classrooms throughout East Baton Rouge Parish, having discussions with students, answering questions, and even leading in-class workshops.