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NORTH TONAWANDA – More than a 100 student artist ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade will be showing off their work in the North Tonawanda Student Spotlight Exhibition, beginning with a grand opening reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Carnegie Art Center, 240 Goundry St. The exhibition continues through March 21.

Mary Sampson, executive director of the center, said the show is in its sixth year and in the past has drawn up to 163 students artists.

“We can’t get much more art in here,” Sampson said of the popular event. “Every one of them gets a certificate from Mayor (Robert) Ortt congratulating them on their creativity.”

Sampson said North Tonawanda art teachers also offer a free family art workshop from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 12.

“The North Tonawanda teachers organize all the work. There are tables set up to do (art) work,” Sampson said of the workshop night.

She said the teachers attempt to reflect what they are teaching in the classroom, which could vary from architectural sketching to working with Play-Doh or clay, or painting with watercolors.

“We have stuff for little kids” Sampson said of the various work stations.

She said displaying all grades in the exhibition provides an opportunity to see the growth of artistic style in children.

“You can see how the kids grow. How the style, the expertise, grows as they are in school,” Sampson said.

But for many proud families there is only one artist they will be watching.

“We get a lot of people on the weekends. A lot of proud grandparents,” Sampson said.

She said the popular show draws about 200 people on opening night and is big draw again on the free family art night.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, but free-will donations are always appreciated, Sampson said.

With the exception of the opening night and free family art night, hours are from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

The exhibition is made possible by the City of North Tonawanda, the North Tonawanda School District, members of the Carnegie Art Center and the East Hill Foundation.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com