WILLIAMSBURG — An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA) has extended the deadline for its Youth Art Exhibition submission.
Student artists now have until Sept. 15 to share their video reflecting their COVID-19 experience.
Now in its 53rd year, the annual festival will take place in Merchants Square on Oct. 2 and 3 and will include the work of hundreds of artists across the U.S.
This year’s festival is putting an emphasis on youth artists, adding a youth video category for the first time ever.
For this year’s theme, “My COVID Experience,” student artists can submit a two-minute documentary or animation video that reflect their COVID-19 experience.
Students can create a video on their own or collaborate with up to three other students, with only one student needing to upload the video submission.
The documentary and animated video submissions chosen will be showcased online and at the festival.
Board Member Maris Segal, who coordinated 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.”
This year’s video category is open to all students ages 10-19 who reside in Williamsburg, James City County and Upper York County.
While a school affiliation is not required for video submissions, a parent or guardian’s signature is required 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,” Nancy Wigley, President of the AOFTA Board, said. “We want to see how they express themselves. The theme — my COVID experience — is very broad and individual to them.”
The Youth Art Exhibition will be showcased across 2,500 square feet of tents and will include art activities, music and food.
This year’s festival was able to upgrade its youth art displays due 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.
Students now have until 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 to upload their videos to be eligible.
For more information, visit the AOFTA website.