Small hands grasped pencils, paintbrushes and clay across Utah Valley, working to bring the true spirit of Christmas to life.
Beginning Friday, Dec. 2, visitors to the Springville Museum of Art can view a special selection of art: the 26th annual Christmas Lamb exhibit, featuring children’s art from throughout Utah Valley. The exhibit, running through Dec. 27, aims to evoke the true spirit of Christmas as seen through the eyes of children.
“The spirit of the show is something that can touch anyone,” said Jessica Weiss, Associate Curator of Education at the SMA.
Weiss has worked with the show for about eight years and says it is one of her favorites. She describes the art as “heartfelt and sincere” and says that every piece has been carefully selected.
The show typically receives 300-400 submissions per year and selects 70 to display at the Christmas Lamb exhibit. According to Weiss, the show is “one of the more competitive exhibitions” shown at the SMA.
Children who submitted art to the show were instructed to create pieces reflecting the real meaning of Christmas as well as the spirit of charity permeating the holiday season. The SMA invited children in grades K-10 living within the Provo, Nebo and Alpine school districts to submit their art to the exhibit.
The exhibit, inspired and funded by the Nemelka family of Mapleton, Utah, takes its name and spirit from a Christmas story of unknown origin. The story is of a young boy whose heart is changed when he sees a painting of the baby Jesus in an art museum. The boy learns that the soul of Christmas lays not so much in receiving as it does in giving.
The purposes of the exhibit are, first, to kindle reflection on the true meaning of Christmas and second, to support and encourage young artists.
The show grants young artists the experience of exhibiting their work in a professional setting. Weiss considers the show to be a good and friendly introduction to the rigor and competition of the art world. Because the show is so selective, Weiss says each of the 70 chosen works is considered an award winner. All of the featured artists will be honored at an awards ceremony and given a certificate, copy of the Christmas Lamb story and small cash prize.
“I tear up almost every year,” said Weiss, speaking of the awards ceremony.
The exhibit will feature pieces using an array of different media and will showcase art from children of all ages. To find out more about the exhibit and the SMA, visit smofa.org.