Nichelle writes; Hello Lisa. I am 12 years of age and would like to enter into art shows in my state but nearly all of them are 18+ and there appear to be no junior art shows, how can I get my art out there and known since I’m not allowed on social media?

I love that you’re interested in this already! If there are not shows in your area, why don’t you start an art guild for kids/teens? You can start by getting your parents and some of your friends who enjoy art involved. See if your parents will let you have a weekly meeting with other artist’s at your home where you can talk about art, paint and draw and organize art shows.

You can also talk to your teachers at your school about starting an art club. There may be a teacher who can let you use their classroom for meetings. In high school, I had a teacher who left the art room open during lunch. I used to like spending my time in there with other artists eating while I worked and talked. If one teacher tells you no, ask another. Don’t be rude to them, get frustrated or give up.  One mistake I made as a teen is I asked one art teacher about entering the LA county fair show, she told me that it was nearly impossible to get into and walked off. Turns out she was not only unhelpful, she was wrong. Unfortunately, I believed her at the time and gave up.

I would recommend making a whole plan to present to any teachers you approach about this idea. Don’t just say “hey, I want an art club!” Let them see you’re serious about this by presenting them with your own work, details about the club like how often you would like to meet, what your meetings will include, and how often you want to have shows (maybe twice a year?). Many schools will hold art shows for their students. The nice thing about an art club is that you’re not asking for funding right off the bat like a sports team would for uniforms/transportation etc. If the members are using their own supplies, you really only need somewhere to provide the space for you.

If that doesn’t work out, you can start by meeting at a park to paint/draw and discuss plans for a show. Try talking to your local city officials as well. There may be a place they rent out for events like this. Some cities have kids art events so check into that, but if they don’t talk to them about helping to get one started. If your parents are not interested in getting involved in helping to get something like this off the ground, talk to the parents of some of your friends.

While you work to get all of this started, start having meetings now with a few of your friends to organize and talk about ideas. Make lists of goals. If the adults you approach see that you’re serious about getting this going, they are going to be more likely to want to help.

The biggest thing to remember is if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Don’t give up! It may not happen the way you wanted today or tomorrow, but keep working towards your goals, and keep practicing your art while you do!