Wilkes-Barre art gallery offers exhibit designed specifically for children
A new visual art exhibit is coming to downtown Wilkes-Barre, and it has all the makings of a traditional, professional showcase, except for one — its height.
The Time to Shine Kids Art Show, a collaborative project by Art of Pa and the 570 Gallery will begin at 3 p.m. June 10 at the 570 Tattooing Co., 59 N. Main St., and will feature the artwork of area children ages 5 to 13. A submission day will take place during gallery hours on June 1.
The concept for the exhibit was born out of previous projects co-organized by Art of Pa Facebook forum founder Mike Reznick and 570 Tattooing Co. owners Geena and Ron Russo. Since opening their new studio, which doubles as an art gallery, in summer 2016, the Russos have facilitated several gallery shows showcasing a variety of regional works.
“Me and Ron and Geena are working together on a lot of projects lately,” said Reznick, curator for the Kids Art Show. “I apprenticed under Ron like 10 years ago. They just started ramping up shows at the gallery.”
The group of creative people, all parents of children who show interest in the arts, decided after a recent venture concluded to try something child-focused.
“The last show we put on, the ‘Broken Heart’ show, their youngest daughter brought in a painting and put it on the wall,” Reznick said. “Someone was like, ‘I’ll buy it.’ Just to see her face light up was incredible.”
Reznick, referring to his experience as a father, noted the joy of watching his son react to his mother-in-law buying one of the boy’s paintings.
“He freaked out,” Reznick said. (After that) I was so excited to do something that was completely about kids. I was like, ‘Geena, I have this great idea. Why don’t we do a show where we hang everything at kid eye-level? We can have kid refreshments, and we’ll do everything kid-oriented.’ Geena and Ron were immediately on board.”
Reznick said the group is carrying the same philosophy into the children’s exhibit as they do with their respective public forum and gallery.
“I made the page for Art in Pa for everyone in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania artists, to be noticed,” Reznick said. “It’s awesome seeing kids get involved with that too.”
While the organizers might be slightly strict on age limit to not encroach on the group that might already be taking art classes in schools, Reznick said no submission from the age 5 to 13 group will be denied.
“It doesn’t matter if we get a huge submission,” Reznick said. “We’re going to plaster the whole wall, because we don’t want to turn away any kids or aspiring artists.”
The role of creativity in a child’s life can be significant, Reznick said.
“My son has behavioral issues,” he said. “He doesn’t work well with change. When we sit down and I just let him paint, he’s totally relaxed. He’s not worried about the next five things we have to do. He’s not worried about anything. To see that change that just calms him down is impressive. No therapist, no pill could do that.”
While the submission day is scheduled for June 1 at the 570 Gallery, Reznick said he and the Russos will likely extend the window until June 3, just to allow as many children as possible to be involved.
“If children come and they sell, they take 100 percent of whatever they make on their painting,” Reznick said. “If some kid paints something cool, it could change somebody’s’s life and do something positive.”
Reznick said exhibits typically hang for about a month at the gallery.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
Time to Shine Kids Art Show
Submission day is June 1 during gallery hours, noon to 10 p.m., at 570 Tattooing Co. and art gallery, 59 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre.
The exhibit opens at 3 p.m. June 10 at the 570 Gallery.
Parents of interested children should contact the tattooing studio and art gallery at 570-825-7270 or Mike Reznick at 570-592-7778. The exhibit is for children ages 5 to 13. No submission will be refused, and kids can choose whether they’d like to put their art up for sale or just display it in the gallery. Kid-friendly cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served on opening night.