The Grandparent Portrait Show, a bi-annual event, has become the signature exhibition for the Student Art Fund. Student artists in public junior high and high schools from Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Goleta, pay tribute to their grandparents and significant elders by creating drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs that capture their portrait. The show was created in 2009 by members of the SBAA Student Art Fund Committee. Grandparent portraits were a regular part of committee member Audie Love’s class curriculum at Dos Pueblos High School. When he heard that a student’s portrait had been prominently displayed at a memorial service, he was inspired to create a venue for the entire community to experience the significance of these portraits.
The 2017 Grandparent Portrait Show will take place April 2 through April 30, 2017 at the Faulkner Gallery.
“The Grandparent Portrait Project is one that connects students with their family roots and pride,” says Audie. “Getting students to focus on the faces of their grandparents is a way of strengthening those connections, and possibly, of inspiring the students with the hopes and aspirations that these grandparent figures have for them.”
With over 500 works submitted for consideration, a jury selected 179 pieces to be included in the show which is displayed at the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Central Library. Through the formal jury process, Awards of Excellence (including ribbons and prizes) are given to outstanding entries. The opening reception, often attended by several generations of the artists’ families, their teachers, and their friends, has become a celebratory and moving experience for all.
“Relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren are unique, significant and often fleeting. The Grandparent Portrait show…aims to strengthen and preserve those bonds….At the show’s opening reception, there’s a palpable layer of energy inside the Faulkner Gallery. The room is packed. Students, teachers, family and friends have gathered for their first look at some very special one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Smiles and hugs abound — along with a few tears.”
—The California Report, National Public Radio Broadcast