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Geneva Center for the Arts Partners with Chicago-based Non-Profit on Youth Portraiture Exhibition

CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnership in Education) students explore the art of self-portraiture during a time of masks and COVID-19 displayed in Geneva Center for the Arts (GCA) Hunter W. Shodeen Youth Gallery (See more student work below...)

GCA Artist Liaison Rita Grendze, in partnership with CAPE, encouraged a group of West Chicago students to also explore faces and the art of portraiture during the current GCA exhibit, “The Deception of the Digital: Portraiture in a Pandemic Era”. It explores how artists have approached the art of portraiture since the world has entered this time of masks and social distancing, however, it largely focuses on adult responses.

Now, as the masks are removed, students must refamiliarize themselves with a friend’s smile or even their own facial expressions that have remained hidden for so long.

Chicago Arts Partnership in Education, a NFP dedicated to engaging students and inspiring teachers via visual, performing, and digital arts, has been working with West Chicago School district 33 since spring of 2021. The partnership pairs up teaching artists with in-house faculty to provide a free, immersive, afterschool programs in the arts. This school year, the 3-5 visual arts students at Currier Elementary school have been working with veteran classroom teacher Sue Avila, along with Rita Grendze.

Students learned techniques to draw facial components, most evident in their work that uses half of a photo to help them draw their own face, and then the portrait of classmate. Students also looked at artists like Bisa Butler and Derrick Adams that create portraits using pattern and shape, which can be seen in their collaged profile portraits.

Geneva Center for the Arts could not think of a better pairing between the main gallery and the Hunter W. Shodeen Youth Gallery. This combination plays off one another, showing the impact the pandemic has had on all people, no matter the age. It also embodies the importance of art as a means of expression and understanding during trying societal times.

A cookies and milk reception for the artists and their families will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2022 at 3 p.m.

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