An annual Queen City showcase of Manchester employee art
By DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader
August 06. 2018 9:49PM
MANCHESTER — Some local artwork is on display at City Hall in an annual showcase of works done by city employees and their families.
The City Employee and Family Art Show opened Monday, featuring dozens of drawings, paintings and photographs hanging from the walls on the first floor of City Hall through late September.
“People really love looking at it,” said Ann Kelley, a member of the Manchester Arts Commission, who was hanging the last of the submissions Monday outside the City Clerk’s office.
The Arts Commission stages the annual showcase, which is supported by National Arts Program, and displays the work in the first-floor “Art on the Wall at City Hall” gallery.
The artwork is displayed by category, ranging from youth (12 years and younger) and teens to adult classifications of amateur, intermediate and professional. Works from each category are judged for cash prizes and awards to be announced Aug. 20 during a reception at City Hall.
Some of the pieces are also for sale, but for most participants it’s about getting their own work in an art exhibit.
“It’s a great opportunity for people that just like to explore a little,” said Shauna Webber, whose 13-year-old daughter, Katie, entered two pieces in the teen category. “I know there are some pieces that go in and are more professional, but just for kids and young adults that like to try their hands at it, I think it’s great.”
Webber, a kindergarten teacher at Smyth Road Elementary, said Katie has always loved to draw, but this is the first year she’s submitted her work. One is a drawing of a rabbit and the other a photograph of a sunflower, which she didn’t initially plan to enter.
“It was just a picture she took on her phone and she really liked how it had come out,” Webber said.
Katie was eligible for the exhibit as the child of a Manchester schools employee. City workers, volunteers and elected officials and their immediate families are also eligible.
While this is Katie’s debut in the annual showcase, others are regular participants.
Jennifer Ryan, whose mother-in-law works at the city library, said her family always enjoys taking part and is well represented again this year. Ryan entered a photograph, teenage daughters Catherine and Jocelyn both entered two photos in the teen division, and 9-year-old Kelly has two pieces entered in the youth category.
“I think it’s just a great opportunity for my kids to experience having their art on the wall and being able to see other peoples’ art,” Ryan said. “They often get inspired by what some of the other artists put up.”
Ryan said the competitive aspect has also helped her kids learn how to handle winning and losing gracefully.
The exhibit runs through Sept. 26 and is open to the public during City Hall hours.
Mayor Joyce Craig encouraged Manchester residents to come and see the display and cast votes for the People’s Choice Award, which will also be announced at the reception.
“It’s great to see so many creative submissions to Art on the Wall at City Hall,” Craig said in a release Monday announcing the opening of the exhibit.
Kelley, who teaches art at Smyth Road and Bakersville elementary schools, said members of the commission started hanging the pieces Wednesday. She said it’s fun each year to see the wide range of work on various mediums and know who is behind them.
“That’s what I love about it. It’s so diverse,” she said.