The Fourth Annual Metropolitan Association of Fine Art Juried Student Art Show
By Jennifer Corr
Inside the Jericho Public Library, patrons will have the opportunity to be delighted by paintings, drawings and mixed media created by local middle and high school students.
The artwork ranges in theme, from culture to the environment and politics. Many who get to witness this show are blown away at the talent of local youth.
The show is held in partnership between the Metropolitan Association of Fine Arts and Syosset’s Sally Studio Art Center.
There are 48 pieces from various types of media including paintings, drawings, pastels and three-dimensional compositions. And many of these students have excelled in art contests and exhibitions nationwide. For example, six of the students are Golden Key winners in the prestigious Scholastic Celebrating Art National contest. In addition, some of the students have won ‘Silver Keys’ or Honorable Mention. Two of the students were recently awarded First Place and Third Place in the Congressional Art Contest for the district and will have their works displayed in the Capitol in Washington DC.
The Syosset Jericho Tribune visited the Jericho Public Library on May 9 to take a look at the art work and meet with Sally Feng and Jindi Zeng. Feng is the director of Sally Studio Art Center and the president of the Metropolitan Fine Art Association, a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to promoting cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts for young artists.
According to the Sally Studio Art Center website, Feng graduated from the Tianjin Institute of Fine Arts in China, and went on to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Feng is an oil portraitist, sumi-e artist (Japanese ink paint) and art teacher. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally.
In order to teach art to students, Feng said, you have to become friends with them, because each student is different.
“I’m passionate about teaching,” Feng said. “Teaching is so much fun. It’s so much fun to see other artists grow. They are young children and they really grow to become artists, as you can see in the show… They can express ideas. I just fall in love with teaching.”
Feng said while she is the president of the Metropolitan Fine Art Association, Zeng, a founder and a parent of an art student, does a lot of the leg work. Many of the board members of the Metropolitan Association of Fine Arts are supportive parents, Feng added.
“I’m very old friends with Sally,” Zeng said. “My older daughter started learning drawing when Sally only had about six students… We have a lot of students joining and learning, and it’s getting bigger and bigger. Sally said she had an idea to help more people, so the first thing we could do is start a nonprofit organization and then we held an art show… The main idea is to include more students and help some students in need.”
In the past, the Metropolitan Association of Fine Arts held its first show with art from high school students, selling the art and donating $3000 to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.
The Jericho Public Library has been hosting this show since 2018, but it has been two years since the last show due to the pandemic shutdown.
This year the artwork will not be sold. Getting into this art show is an achievement in itself, but some of the entries will be rewarded by Ron Becker, the judge of the show.
“I encourage all art lovers to visit the Jericho Library Art Exhibit currently on display,” Becker said. “Judging this exhibit was an inspiring pleasure and quite challenging. The caliber of work by high school students and younger is surprising. There is so much quality work, it was hard to select a limited number of pieces for awards.
Upon entering the room, I wasn’t sure I was at the right exhibit because the work is of such high quality. Between the variety of subject matter, mediums used and use of color, the work will draw you in to appreciate technique, detail, drama, message and beauty. Congratulations to the artists and bravo to the teachers who bring out the best in their students.”
Student Amy Chen, who illustrated a young woman underwater among sea creatures in a piece titled <communication>, won Best in Show. Chen worked on that piece in a summer class at Sally Studio Art Center, where the theme was centered around the ocean.
“When we gave the students the theme, students have their own idea on how they’ll put it together to express themselves in art,” Feng said. “When we gave them the theme, students started to do a little research and they find some images. This is a big process. It’s not like you will immediately find the idea… We need to guide them in how to find the way to express what they really want to say.”
Feng added that while parents and fans of artwork are in awe of the work that’s on display, younger students are feeling inspired. And younger students are certainly not being left out. The artwork by students ages 8 to 12 is being featured in a gallery from the Metropolitan Association of Fine Art online. The work is delightful. To view the digital gallery, visit www.metfinearts.org/events.
When it comes to the host of the show, the Jericho Public Library, Feng called it home.
“Jericho Public Library is always very supportive,” Feng said. “I really appreciate it and this opportunity to display our student’s work to the public.”
And the community, in general, is a great place to live, especially for students. Feng’s been a member of the community for more than 20 years.
“In this neighborhood, they have a lot of people from different cultures and different backgrounds,” Feng said. “This is a wonderful place… Our school has a lot of students who are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and American. They have all different cultures and we’re all together. It’s so amazing. We learn different things.. Even the language, sometimes, they learn from each other. I think we are trying to create a community through art to unite everyone together.”