A Call for Young Arists
Could the next Pablo Picasso or Georgia O’Keeffe be living right here on the North Shore? The Deer Path Art League (DPAL) would love to find out. Not only does the Lake Forest-based not-for-profit organization love to discover the area’s budding young artists, they also want to give them a professional place to showcase their work.
March is Youth Art Month, and each year, Vickie Marasco, Gallery Director of DPAL, extends an invitation to students of surrounding schools to display their creations in a gallery setting. Students from kindergarten to college participate. Their works stay on exhibit for the entire month, so friends, family, and members of the community can browse the gallery, located on the upper level of Gorton Community Center. The event is kicked off with an opening night reception—this year on March 11—where the students are treated as the featured artists, talking about their masterpieces with the public. “It is great to see the mix of ages and artistic talent and the support they give one another,” says Marasco.
Support is the name of the game when it comes to the Deer Path Art League. The League sponsors rotating Gallery exhibits throughout the year, offers classes and workshops, and is responsible for the perennial favorite “Art Fair on the Square” in Lake Forest during Labor Day weekend. But their springtime focus on Youth Art Month makes them unique, and is just a fraction of the League’s Young Artist Enrichment Program.
With the help of volunteers, and in collaboration with North Chicago Community Partners and Boys & Girls Club, Marasco heads up to grammar schools in North Chicago that have underdeveloped fine art programs and teaches eager students about art techniques and famous artists in an after-school setting. Each time, students create a new work of art. “Tapping into a young person’s creative energy is a great outlet, and most of these children do not have exposure to the arts and to the various materials and techniques that we introduce,” explains Marasco. “Students enjoy the ability to express their feelings, visions, and imaginations artistically.”
The final facet to the DPAL’s appreciation for young artists is the Fine Arts Scholarship, awarded to a graduating senior from Lake Forest High School who plans to study art in college and has interviewed and prepared a portfolio for the honor.
So are these potential masterpieces created by the students ever up for sale? “They are given the option,” says Marasco, “but very few want to part with their original work.” Hopefully, as they grow as artists, they’ll change their minds.
The Deer Path Art League is located at 400 E. Illinois in Lake Forest. Visit deerpathartleague.org for information on classes and the exhibit. March 11 Opening Night admission is free.