Calling All Artists!

Children’s Art Gallery – Submissions Open

The VAAEYC Conference is held each year to gather early childhood educators, to build community, to honor the work being done, and to explore a developmentally appropriate practice that is occurring across the Commonwealth. This year VAAEYC invites members to showcase developmentally appropriate art by children in their programs at the Annual Conference.

The art gallery will present artwork created in classrooms, showcasing ways art is being displayed for children and families, and highlighting the process that occurs in making art within the classroom. This goal of the gallery is to celebrate the art, as well as call attention to developmentally appropriate practice in art and its importance in a child's overall development and learning. We hope that educators will find this process empowering and use it as self-reflection on best practices. At the end of this message is a helpful guide to process-focused art experiences. 

Early educators are invited to submit art to showcase and the submissions should consist of:

    • JPG or PNG Image of the Artwork. (You may take a picture but will need to convert it to the format above. VAAEYC can help.)
    • A written narrative about the process used to create art in their classroom. You may include pictures of the art areas and pictures of how the art is displayed in the classroom or program, once again please convert these to JPG or PNG images. 

Submissions must be received by February 1, 2024. 

Accepted artwork submissions will need to be brought to the hotel by 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2024 and be display-ready. A draped table will be reserved to set up the artwork. The artwork should be prepared for display on tri-fold display boards.

ONE representative from the center displaying the artwork will receive a 50% discount to attend the conference. Please submit your application HERE. Once your application is received and reviewed, you will be contacted if your artwork is accepted and given the discount code.

Submit Artwork for Consideration!

Characteristics of Process-Focused Art Experiences:

  • There are no step-by-step instructions
  • There is no sample for children to follow
  • There is no right or wrong way to explore and create
  • The art is focused on the experience and on an exploration of techniques, tools, and materials
  • The art is unique and original
  • The experience is relaxing or calming
  • The art is entirely the children’s own
  • The art experience is a child’s choice
  • Ideas are not readily available online

What children might say:

“Look what I made!” “I’m going to do another!”

“Can I have more time?”

Embrace Self-Expression:

When children have the freedom of self-expression while participating in an art project, you will see them more relaxed and focused. You are giving them the chance to predict, plan, and problem solve as they create their piece of art. They will feel successful every time because there is no wrong way to express themselves. Children will also be more willing to discuss their art with you and get excited to share because no one else made something like it.

Tips for process-focused Art Lessons:

  • Make it open-ended by providing a variety of materials…. natural, recycled, found
  • Use household tools and unconventional materials
  • Allow children to bring materials from home
  • Let the child lead the experience by asking them what they want to use, and allow them to go back to their project later to add more
  • Provide plenty of time
  • Say “yes” to their ideas
  • Offer new and interesting materials.
  • Take materials outside and allow them to use things in nature to inspire them
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