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story.lead_photo.caption Tessa Sorrells, a second-grader at Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle, shows her Best in Class award in the Young Arkansas Artists exhibition. She received the award with a mixed-media self-portrait painting.

LITTLE ROCK — Several young artists from the River Valley & Ozark Edition coverage area have their work on display in the 57th Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.

The exhibit will be on display through July 22 in the Alice Pratt Brown Atrium and the Sam Strauss Sr. Gallery. There is no admission charge.

The annual exhibit celebrates the creative achievements of young artists in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

“We strive to promote quality arts-education initiatives and achievement in the visual arts,” said Todd Herman, Arkansas Arts Center executive director. “Through the Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition, we are offering a platform to celebrate artwork created by young Arkansans while empowering them to express themselves in a positive way.”

This year, 492 works in a variety of media were entered by 142 teachers or instructors from throughout the state. The show includes 104 works of art representing 63 schools in 31 cities. From those works, one Best in Class and two honorable mention awards were chosen for each grade by Michael Shaeffer, a Little Rock-based artist. Shaeffer also selected recipients of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists Award for Achievement in Watercolor and the Ray Smenner Award for Achievement in Painting. Members of the Arkansas Art Educators Association also selected one Teacher’s Choice award winner from each grade level.

Each winning artist’s school receives a monetary award to support the school’s art program. Selected works from the exhibition will travel to schools and other venues around the state as part of the Arkansas Arts Center’s Statewide ArtsReach Programs.

Local students with works in the show and their respective schools include the following:

Academics Plus Charter School, Maumelle

• Kindergartner Brody Taylor received a Best in Class award and an Arkansas Art Educators Teacher’s Choice award, with an untitled chalk and pastel piece.

• Second-grader Tessa Sorrells received a Best in Class award with a mixed-media self-portrait.

Central Arkansas Christian School, North Little Rock

• Third-grader Leo Garrison received an honorable mention award and an Arkansas Art Educators Teacher’s Choice award with a chalk and pastel, Fruit.

Florence Mattison Elementary School, Conway

• Fourth-grader Mackenzie Warden has an acrylic, Ocean Galaxy, in the show.

Greenbrier High School, Greenbrier

• Eleventh-grader Makenzie Whiticker has a watercolor, Red Fox, in the exhibit.

Jim Stone Elementary School, Conway

• Kindergartner Calix Chen’s mixed-media piece Rainbow Landscape is on display.

• First-grader Kyle Tyiska’s mixed-media work Field of Poppies was accepted for the show.

Klasses with Kateri, Conway

• Sixth-grader Kim Quinit received an Arkansas Art Educators Teacher’s Choice award with a graphite on paper, Depth of the Eyes.

• Ninth-grader Maddie Baker had her work in colored pencil and pen and ink, Observe, accepted for the exhibit.

Maumelle High School, Maumelle

• Ninth-grader Jaslynn Dorsey’s cut-paper piece Notan is in the show.

Perryville High School, Perryville

• Twelfth-grader Haley Anderson’s acrylic Climb was accepted for display.

Pottsville Middle Grades, Pottsville

• Fifth-grader Lauren Grigsby has a mixed-media piece, Cactus Flower, in the exhibit.

Pottsville Junior High School, Pottsville

• Eighth-grader Maggie Gregory received an Arkansas Art Educators Teacher’s Choice award with a charcoal, True Companions.

• Ninth-grader Jada Parker won an Arkansas Art Educators Teacher’s Choice award with a charcoal, Wisdom and Grace.

Russellville Junior High School, Russellville

• Ninth-grader Jazwan English received an honorable-mention award with a graphite and Sharpie work, Christi.

Vilonia High School, Vilonia

• Eleventh-grader Haley Chandler received an honorable-mention award with a pastel, Free.

Theodore Jones Elementary School, Conway

• First-grader Fisher Johnson has a piece titled Sparky — created with tempera, oil pastels and markers — in the exhibit.

• Second-grader Morgan Eckl’s piece created with tempera and oil pastels, Twitter, is on display.

West Side High School, Greers Ferry

• Ninth-grader Jozie Hovik received an honorable-mention award with a gel pen on colored paper, Sushi.

The Arkansas Arts Center is at Ninth and Commerce streets in Little Rock. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The center is closed on Mondays and major holidays.

For more information, call (501) 372-4000 or visit

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