Wednesday, August 10, 2022

An Occasion for the Arts Annual Festival Invites Youth Video Submissions for the First Time [Free read]

Students encouraged to share their COVID experience by Aug. 25 deadline.

An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA) invites student artists to share their COVID experience on video for the Youth Art Exhibition, a key element of the highly acclaimed annual festival which will take place in Merchants Square in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg from Oct. 2-3, 2021.

In the past, artists did not follow a theme, but Maris Segal, a new board member who coordinates the Youth Art Exhibition, saw this year’s festival as “an opportunity to experience the historic COVID pandemic year through the lens of young artists.”

“The COVID pandemic has left no one untouched across the globe, including young people who are often the most resilient,” Segal said. “Inspired by my family of front-line workers, I saw firsthand the impact isolation from school, activities and more had on my niece, nephews and grandchildren. This exhibit gives middle and high school students in the Williamsburg area a creative way to share their own experience using the age-old tool of storytelling.”

Nancy Wigley, President of the AOFTA Board, said the addition of video is part of an overall effort to grow and expand entries for youth art. The juried video category is open to all students ages 10-19 who live in Williamsburg, James City County and Upper York County. A school affiliation is not required for video entries, but each submission must include a signature by a parent or guardian on the online application.

“We’re wide open with this category and really want to get a feel of what these kids have been going through,” Wigley said. “We want to see how they express themselves. The theme — my COVID experience — is very broad and individual to them.”

Student artists must upload their two-minute documentary or animation videos by 6 p.m. on Aug. 25 to be eligible. Budding filmmakers can create a video on their own or collaborate with a maximum of three other students. Only one student needs to upload the video submission. The documentary and animated video submission selected will be showcased online and at the festival.

“The ‘my COVID experience’ theme also carries across the 2D and 3D youth art submission categories, and we look forward to seeing the students’ creative expressions,” Segal noted.

An Occasion for the Arts, in its 53rd year, includes the work of hundreds of juried artists spanning the United States. The Youth Art Exhibition, sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors, will be showcased across 2,500 square feet of tents and will include art activities, music and family friendly food nearby. This year, the festival upgraded its youth art displays thanks to a grant from the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission.

“This is one of the few opportunities for our local school kids to publicly display their art,” Wigley said.

Visit for more information on the festival and the Youth Art Exhibition.

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