Area students discover artistic career fields with IGNITE through Amarillo College, TPAEA – Amarillo Globe-News

Event held in partnership with Texas Panhandle Art Education Association

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

This year is the “second-ish” conference between the college and TPAEA. The first was held in 2019. Two more were scheduled the following years, but were canceled due to COVID-19.

“This program allows us to inspire the next generation of artists, and it gives the students the chance to get some hands-on experience and see Amarillo College’s new art facility. It also allows the students to meet one another, network and see AMoA (Amarillo Museum of Art) where some of them will have pieces on display next year,” said Jill Gibson, AC’s chair of media, arts and communication.

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, college preparation, public murals, art history and yoga.

“Where else would these students get access to this many professionals, to this many industry leaders, to be able to sit and have a conversation about how to get their work out there, how to show their work, and how to make a living creating? Having these volunteers here speaking to these kids gives them another outlet to succeed in their field of passion,” said TPAEA President Shawn Kennedy.

According to Kennedy, the students attending were hand-picked 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 overall performance throughout the year.

Tascosa High School junior Madeline Kennedy spoke about why art is important to her.

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

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