Student art show christens new home for Art Center

Special to the Gazette

When Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center's 14th Annual High School Student Art Show opens on Jan. 31, it will not only give the art gallery a chance to show off local student artwork and talent, but also its new building as well.

Earlier this month, Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center relocated from Boundary Street to Westover Avenue between Richmond Road and Lafayette Street in the gallery's old art education center. The gallery is now in the Arts District in a bigger, brighter building affectionately and appropriately dubbed "The Blue Building," because of its color.

"I always liked this building," said Janis Wood, president of the center's Board of Directors. "It's sprawling. It's a fun building."

The high school art show will be one of the first exhibitions in the new location. Roughly 135 pieces will be featured, created by students from the School of the Arts at Bruton High School in York County; Lafayette, Jamestown, and Warhill high schools in Williamsburg-James City County; and local private schools Walsingham Academy, Williamsburg Christian Academy, and Providence Classical School.

"This exhibit provides an opportunity for students to showcase their artwork and to be eligible for prizes," said Karen Schwartz, a board member and coordinator for the art show. "It's a good experience for the students who plan to continue to study art in college by giving them exposure to a judged show."

Local professional artists and college professors will judge the pieces, with winners announced at a reception on Feb. 1. There will be 12 cash awards handed out as well as more than a dozen honorable mention certificates.

Schwartz has been a part of the show since the beginning, when parents used to line up outside the door of the old building waiting to come in for a chance to see the student talent.

"I love the fact that we can showcase art by students," said Schwartz. "It gives students confidence in their artwork and the opportunity to see what students from other schools are doing. The students in this community create some amazing artwork."

High school art teachers select the students and pieces for the exhibition. An individual student can submit up to four pieces. Displayed artwork will include paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, and 3-D sculptures.

"It's always fun to see what the students are doing," said Schwartz. "The quality of their work has really increased over the years. I'm seeing more and more artwork that reflects the students' own vision, not just an assignment."

Winners from the WCAC Members Show will also have artwork on display in the Fireside Members' Gallery.

The High School Student Art Show will run January 31 through March 10. The art center will then close again to finish renovations to the new building before officially reopening in April. Members will then be able to rent space for personal art showings. Art education classes will also resume in the new building in April.

"It's hard to find a place in town to show your work, so we want to be able to provide that service to members," said Wood. "Our goal is for this to be a place where artists, members and others in the community can gather, enjoy some artwork and be happy."

Want to go?

Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center will open Jan. 31 at 110 Westover Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit

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