Young Artists of McKinley County

The Young Artists of McKinley County (YAMC) Project is an effort to cultivate McKinley County’s next generation of artists by showcasing student work and providing arts education. Currently, the YAMC Project has several components including: the YAMC Display Cases, the Annual Youth Art Show at ART123 Gallery every March, monthly Family Craft Workshops during ArtsCrawl, a teaching artist program, and The Art Collective.

In partnership with schools, teachers and youth-serving programs from across McKinley County, we put on regular student art shows in our downtown display cases (find them on Second Street across from Camille’s Sidewalk Café). Previous displays have included hundreds of papier mache ants, self-portraits, poetry and sewing projects. In the last three years, the YAMC display cases have exhibited over 1,100 student artists from over 4 dozen schools/classes.

Since 2014, gallupARTS has been celebrating Young Art Month each March by featuring student artists from public, charter, Bureau of Indian Education, private and home schools from Gallup and the surrounding areas in a month-long group show at ART123 Gallery. So far, over 1,700 student artists have participated in the Annual ART123 Gallery Youth Art Show.

As part of ArtsCrawl second Saturdays, gallupARTS hosts a family-friendly craft workshop, encouraging kids and their adults to get creative together. Each event involves an average of 100 families–that’s over 1,000 families served each year!

Each fall, to help close the gap in arts education, gallupARTS deploys a teaching artist to an elementary school lacking an art program. The teaching artist teaches a 4-week class focused on a particular medium, providing students an authentic arts learning experience and engaging them deeply in the creative process. In 2019, gallupARTS was at Mariano Lake Community School with artist Mariea Hall, who is teaching K – 2 grade students hand-building with clay and 3 – 6 grade students watercolor painting. gallupARTS’ Teaching Artist Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Bank Foundation.

Produced iteratively in the most severely under-resourced communities within McKinley County in partnership with local service organizations, The Art Collective engages youth and families in community-oriented, collaborative art projects designed by local artists.

The first iteration of The Art Collective is integrated within nonprofit All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World’s “Story Garden” program in Gamerco, NM. In fall 2019, local mixed media artist Tera Selleck, led a community beautification project designed to be intergenerational and lead to outcomes such as individual/family resiliency and agency, and neighborhood pride. 

The second iteration is done in partnership with the Summer Youth Corporation’s nonprofit summer camp in Thoreau, NM. In summer 2021, Diné artist Marina Eskeets spearheaded a mural project focused on empowering Navajo youth by strengthening their connections to culture and community. 

The Art Collective is funded by a grant from a NM-based foundation. 

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