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“Every Child Is an Artist”

“Every Child Is an Artist”

Luna Fine Art Gallery • Every Child Is An Artist
Luna Fine Art Gallery • Every Child Is An Artist
Luna Fine Art Gallery • Every Child Is An Artist
Luna Fine Art Gallery • Every Child Is An Artist
Luna Fine Art Gallery • Every Child Is An Artist +4
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Luna Fine Art Gallery • Every Child Is An Artist

Pablo Picasso’s words couldn’t ring truer when it comes to the quality works created by young artists at the Brilliant Star Gallery.

A painting of a girl lost in the mirror. A purple figure watches her back in the reflection, the details of its anatomy made up of intricate brushstrokes and painstaking patterns. The girl is frozen in contemplation, a loose strand of red wrapping her hand, connecting her somehow to the too-bright world revealed in the mirror. It is a painting of contrasts, made in the juxtaposition of thick, textured color against the dimness of the “real world.” The sense of unreality, perhaps even horror, that arises when studying the relationship between the girl and the unknown watcher is a testament to the painting’s composition and delivery, done with the eye of a true professional. Yet, Dissociation is not a painting. And its creator, while talented, is not yet a professional.  

Natalee Stuart, the winner of Best in Show for the Brilliant Star Gallery’s summer exhibit, was still in high school when her piece became one of many featured in the gallery’s youth-oriented programs. Stuart created the piece using an iPad Pro with the Procreate digital illustration application, intermixing traditional techniques with newer-generation art technology. While it may seem strange to substitute a stylus for brushes and paint, artists embracing new things is a lot of what makes the Brilliant Star Gallery so special and a great example of a positive cultural investment that benefits local communities.

Located in the larger Luna Fine Art Gallery at the Hilton Pensacola Beach, the Brilliant Star Gallery is a part of The Hive, Innisfree Hotels’ social responsibility program focused on the arts. The decision to expand the children’s gallery developed from Dr. Lisa Puzon’s initial proposal, as she is both art director for the Dixon School of Arts & Sciences in Pensacola and gallery director for Brilliant Star and the Luna Fine Art Galleries. Puzon’s main goal for Brilliant Star is to seek out quality art submissions from young students, regardless of school affiliation, even those home-schooled, and put them on display in a fine arts setting. 

“It’s amazing to see the passion and drive for the arts in the next generation that will support the arts,” says Puzon. “The gallery is a space where we can foster that growth and give younger artists a space that many grown creators would strive for.”  

According to Puzon, the work of talented students like Stuart often demonstrates knowledge and execution of traditional techniques such as color theory, blending, and layouts, but with the added hurdle of an infant medium, exploring areas that older generations have historically balked at allowing under the “fine arts” moniker. 

Beyond merely hosting student pieces and events, Brilliant Star Gallery helps young artists better understand the business of art as well. “First, students have to price their own work, a critical first step moving into the professional art world,” says Puzon. “We help them with price points and any other questions they might have, but for the most part, the students set their own prices, the gallery invoices on their behalf after purchases are made online, and checks are delivered the same as any other professional transaction.” The students receive a 70/30 commission, but after that, says Puzon, “the student can choose to split their portion with the school, helping the teachers and programs that regularly go underfunded.”  

In the first six months since the opening exhibit last November, students have collectively sold more than $1,800 worth of art, sharing much of their commissions with their schools. The current exhibit’s first piece, Wave by Zanaya Chase, sold on opening day, with five more student pieces selling in just three weeks.

“More than just a gallery featuring young artists, Brilliant Star is a tool to lift the art of young people around us and build a better, more thriving art community here on the Gulf Coast,” says Puzon. Three events have been held already, with four planned annually in the years to come, and student and student/artist collaborations featured through the region, such as the five large canvases going on loan to the Hilton Pensacola Beach restaurant, H2O.  

“The gallery is a resource,” says Puzon of the children’s gallery she helped start. “It’s something to help embolden young, local creatives to make the art they want to make, learn the business behind it, and in the end, become the artists they are meant to be.”

Brilliant Star Gallery
lunafineartgallery.com/brilliant-star-gallery

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