Every year during March, Dogwood Arts hosts their Synergy Exhibition at the Clayton Center for the Arts, which features the work of gifted art students from area schools alongside their teachers and current interns or students. This year’s Synergy Exhibition opened applications as early as Nov. 4, 2019 and closed on Feb. 17, 2020. The exhibition is on display from March 4 to March 27.
Established in 1955 by the Knoxville Garden Club, the mission of Dogwood Arts is to “promote & celebrate the art, culture and natural beauty of [the Knoxville] region.” The nonprofit organization accomplishes this by developing walking trails and gardens throughout Knoxville that show off the natural beauty of the land. They also plan various events that highlight regional art, music, and artists.
The Synergy Exhibition features an array of art from local students ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors, as well as art from teachers, interns, and student teachers from the East Tennessee area. Since 2014, this event has been held at Maryville College’s very own Clayton Center for the Arts.
During the month, Dogwood Arts holds an opening reception and awards ceremony in the foyer of the Clayton Center for the Arts. They highly encourage the participating students and their parents to attend, because the ceremony is where they announce the winners of each category and present the exemplary participants with their awards.
The Clayton Center for the Arts’ La Dolce Vita will display the submitted art of the Synergy Exhibition for the month of March.
The awards are based on the grade level of the participant, as well as the overall quality of the piece being considered. The ceremony will take place on March 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Clayton Center. The reception is open to the public, so anyone is welcome to attend and celebrate the artists on display.
The Synergy Exhibition provides an opportunity for artists of all ages, skill levels, and styles to present their pieces in a nonacademic setting. This sort of exposure and recognition encourages these students to continue to develop their talents as they progress in their studies.
This exhibition is also a way for students to finance their higher education potentially. In past years, awards have gone to the winner for each grade level, and there is also a Best of Show award. In addition to the awards, winners have received cash prizes and scholarships offered by the East Tennessee Foundation.
According to Caroline Stuart, the Clayton Center’s Event Coordinator, the Clayton Center sponsors the event and hosts the exhibition and opening ceremony for free.
“It’s such an amazing opportunity for the local students,” Stuart said. “I’ve worked the reception for the past three years, and I’m always astounded by the artistic talent that our community has to offer.”
This year’s submitted pieces present an array of colors and sizes. There is three-dimensional, quilted, and painted art on display as well as a variety of other styles. If any students, faculty, or community members have a chance, they should stop by the La Dolce Vita Gallery to appreciate the art that has been produced by the hard work of East Tennessee’s talented young artists.