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State of the Art Gallery and BJM Kids!

Posted July 10, 2022
(written by Ithaca College Writing Intern Grace Condon)

"The Kids Were Spellbound"

State of the Art Gallery (SOAG) is a cooperative fine art gallery located at 120 W. State/MLKL Jr. street in Ithaca, and they have been recipients of multiple CAP grants for many years! 

SOAG is a cooperative, operated by 25 artist members  Their exhibits change monthly with May featuring a show titled “Wings, Petals, and Leaves” by Margy Nelson, Carla DeMello, and Diana Ozolins, which captured observations of nature in paintings, digital prints, photographs, and paper sculptures. 

One of SOAG’s intentions for the use of the 2022 CAP "GAP" grant was educational outreach. They achieved this in cooperation with Beverly J Martin elementary school and local artist, Katrina Morse. The students of Ms. Jessica Custer-Bindel's kindergarten class visited SOAG in early May for a tour of the exhibit.  Ms. Custer’s class did an art detective activity created by Katrina which made for a fun and engaging tour! 

 On their way out of the exhibit “The kids were spellbound,” Nancy, an SOAG volunteer says. “They asked, ‘who gets to show their art?’ and ‘can we show our art in a gallery?’” 

This ignited the idea for the students to have their very own show. For the three weeks following their visit, the kids worked on their art projects with materials supplied by SOAG. Their work was displayed for gallery night on June 3rd.  The kids got to proudly share their capability with their parents who came to see the show.  

“What a project!” Nancy said, “It was transforming for the kids and others at BJM.”  

The imagination and ability of Ms. Custer’s kindergarten class— pottery and sculptures incorporating recycled materials, nature paintings, nature photographs, and insect huts— all of which pertain to their science curriculum— are on display at the Community School of Music and Arts. The exhibit is titled “L'atelier” (French for studio). 

The CAP grant covered costs for SOAG’S educational outreach project and materials for Ms. Custer’s students' art projects.  

“I would hope to have more of these outreach projects,” Nancy says, “since young children are at an impressionable age when they can be stimulated by a memorable involvement. I would predict that several of the kindergarten children either pursue art or incorporate it into their lives as they grow older.” 

This is a project that encouraged creativity and curiosity. It is important to make kids (and adults) feel like their expression is valued; kudos to Ms. Jessica Bindel-Custer and SOAG volunteers for achieving this.  

SOAG will continue to introduce students of all ages to the world of art. Their next program will be in the fall with the New Roots school high school students.  

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