The city of Watertown is joining forces with local businesses and community groups to give students statewide an opportunity to showcase their art for free.
The first CreARTive youth art competition is set for this weekend. Its organizers hope it has a lasting impact.
"Yeah, actually I'm really excited," junior Gracyn Benike said.
"I'm really looking forward to it," senior Lori Foltz said.
When the youth art competition comes to Watertown this weekend, their works will be on display. It's something most of the students haven't experienced before.
The closest thing freshman Meghan Schwartz can think of was displaying pictures on the wall in her elementary classroom.
"It's a good chance to get out there and show my art," Schwartz said.
Heather Kallhoff is one of the event organizers. She was motivated to launch the event this year, fearing budget cuts could cut into art programs.
The competition is free to enter thanks to community and business donations. And students have responded. There will be more than 450 pieces of art on display from more than 200 students.
"It was just a confirmation and affirmation that this was a needed event and is being so well-received by all," Kallhoff said.
Plans are already in the works to make this event an annual one. Organizers hope their efforts help keep art alive for students for years to come.
"At first I was hesitant because I've never done anything like that. But then I thought about it a lot and decided I wanted to put some stuff in," Foltz said.
If judges select their work, both students and their school art programs will receive prizes.
If you'd like to check it out, the expo is free and will get underway at the Watertown Events Center at 10 a.m. Saturday.