Navajo Elementary School Taliyah Wilkes Boys & Girls Club artists to display their work

Navajo Elementary School fifth grader, Taliyah Wilkes, 11, will have artwork exhibited at the 2019 Boys & Girls Clubs of America Pacific Regional Art Exhibition, A Celebration of the Arts EXPO.

Nearly 600 hundred art pieces and over 200 photography pieces created by Boys & Girls Club members across nine states, American Samoa and Japan will be available for all to see in northern Scottsdale.

The 2019 Boys & Girls Clubs of America Pacific Regional Art Exhibition, A Celebration of the Arts EXPO, will be held May 13-14 at BIG YAM.

Hosted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS), the free exhibition features artwork by members ages 6 to 18 who have previously received first-place honors at local organizations competitions held throughout the year.

Taliyah Wilkes, 11, is one of those members.

Taliyah — a fifth grader at Navajo Elementary School, southern Scottsdale resident and a member of the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch for the past two years — entered a first-place drawing and second-place pastel piece into the exhibition.

“It gives me happiness and joy and gives me importance because it makes me feel like I’m doing something with my life,” Taliyah said of being part of the exhibition. “I’ve had artwork exhibited at club art shows since kindergarten.”

She said pastels are her favorite medium because “of the way you can blend colors. You can’t blend markers the way you can with pastels.”

“In art you can do anything,” Taliyah added. “Art can be anything. It’s totally free. With other subjects, it’s just about one thing.”

Taliyah has been a BGCS member since she was in kindergarten, or since she was 6 years old.

“I like how open it is to do lots of things, like field trips,” she said. “It helps us with all kinds of things, like school, and other stuff, like back-to-school shopping.”

The members included in the exhibition hail from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington, the American Samoa and on Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan.

Art categories at the Expo include watercolor, pastels, oil and acrylic paint, printmaking, collage, mixed media, colored pencil, group project, sculpture and photography.

These categories are focuses of Boys & Girls Club’s “National Fine Arts Exhibition” and “ImageMakers National Photography” programs.

More specifically, the Expo will feature 588 pieces of youth-created fine art and 226 pieces of youth photography.

All original visual artwork is professionally mounted and framed by BGCA and displayed in the national headquarters art gallery for one year.

The judging will take place May 13, and judges include professional artists and local community leaders.

Selected artwork will move onto the national competition.

Regional winning artists will receive a certificate of merit.

National winners will receive a personalized engraved plaque, and the artwork will be professionally scanned and reproduced on stretch canvases to become part of a traveling art exhibit at regional and national conferences throughout the year.

The Expo will take place May 14.

“We are excited to be hosting the regional art exhibition this year and so grateful to our Executive Board Member Marianne Guenther for providing the perfect space at BIG YAM for the EXPO,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS president & CEO, in a prepared statement.

“Our art exhibitions are very important in providing opportunities for our young artists to be recognized for their creativity,” she added. “I can promise you that those who attend the exhibition will not be disappointed.”