LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Arts Center, the state’s premiere center for visual and performing arts, will host the 53rd Young Arkansas Artists Awards Reception and Family Festival on May 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities for kids of all ages will be offered and awards will be presented at 1 p.m. in the Lecture Hall. The 53rd Young Arkansas Artists exhibition will be on view May 9 - July 27 in the Alice Pratt Brown Atrium and the Sam Strauss Sr. Gallery.

"On behalf of all the staff at the Arkansas Arts Center, we are honored to acknowledge and celebrate the artistic excellence of these young Arkansas artists," said Arkansas Arts Center executive director Todd Herman. "I congratulate the 2014 recipients who truly represent the best of our state’s young artistic community."

Artists awarded in the 53rd Young Arkansas Artists exhibition include:

Best of Class:

Magnolia Smyers, Kindergarten, Theodore Jones Elementary, Conway.

Shamard Thomas, Seventh grade, Carl Stuart Middle School, Conway.

Honorable Mention:

Mia Hausman, First grade, Florence Mattison, Conway.

Members of the Arkansas Art Educators Association juried the entries, selecting approximately 100 works out of the more than 450 submissions for the exhibition. Each winner’s school will receive a monetary prize to help fund the arts program in his/her school. Selections from the 53rd Young Arkansas Artists exhibition travel to schools and other venues in Arkansas as part of the Arts Center’s State Services traveling exhibition program.

Guest juror, Neal Harrington, selected one Best of Class and two Honorable Mentions from each grade. Harrington earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of South Dakota with an emphasis in painting. He is currently an associate professor and chair of art and gallery director at Arkansas Tech University.

Activities at the family festival will include mural painting, storytelling, and various wonderful opportunities for adults and children to create action art. Tickets are $5 per person or $20 per family and may be purchased online at

The 53rd Young Arkansas Artists exhibition is sponsored by Barbara and Steve Bova, Dale and Lee Ronnel, The Philip R. Jonsson Foundation, The Bailey Foundation and The Central Arkansas Library System. Awards for the exhibition are sponsored by Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Mid-Southern Watercolorists.

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