AC and TPAEA Host 400 Local Students for Creative Arts Conference

Amarillo College and the Texas Panhandle Art Education Association (TPAEA) welcomed approximately 400 students from across the Panhandle to IGNITE: High School Creative Arts Conference Friday at AC’s Washington Street campus.

This year is the “second” conference between the college and the TPAEA. The first took place in 2019. Two more were planned for the following years, but were canceled due to COVID-19.

“This program allows us to inspire the next generation of artists, and it gives students the chance to get hands-on experience and see Amarillo College’s new art facility. It also allows students to meet, to network and see AMoA (Amarillo Museum of Art) where some of them will be exhibiting pieces next year,” said Jill Gibson, AC President of Media, Arts and Communications.

IGNITE hosted 25 guest speakers, including professional artists, business owners, educators, and civic leaders from across the Panhandle who led 30 different workshops inspired by their respective fields.

The workshops, held throughout the Washington campus, included photography, fine art, performance art, graphic design, web development, advertising, marketing, audio/video production, preparation for college, public murals, art history and yoga.

A high school student participates in

“Where else would these students have access to so many professionals, so many industry leaders, to be able to sit down and have a conversation about how to get their work out there, show their work, and earn their “Having these volunteers here to talk to these kids gives them another outlet to succeed in their area of ​​passion,” said TPAEA President Shawn Kennedy.

According to Kennedy, the students in attendance were handpicked by their high school teachers to attend the conference. The students were determined by their desire to pursue a career in an artistic field and their overall performance throughout the year.

Tascosa junior Madeline Kennedy sculpts

Madeline Kennedy, a high school student from Tascosa, explained why art is important to her.

“A lot of good comes from art. Art gives you creative space. I think it’s important to stretch your mind, and being in art helps you get involved in a community. It offers good opportunities to be around people,” she said.