It started in a parent-teacher conference at the .
Ruby Thompson, a MAMS parent and employee at the , and Rod Stevens, a MAMS art teacher, were talking about a way to make students' art more visible.
"I wanted to do some art advocacy in Matawan and I didn't know how to do that," Thompson said.
"Art is underrepresented in the scholastic environment. There's a whole culture of students who live and breathe art and to have an outlet is the most important thing we can do," Stevens said.
Thompson spoke with the library director, Kimberly Paone, about doing an art show there, and when Paone gave her the go ahead, she reached out to Stevens.
"She called me up and asked if we would want to display our art in May at the library and I said yes and started matting as soon as possible," Stevens said.
The Student Art Show, presented by the Matawan Aberdeen Library and the Matawan Aberdeen Middle School, kicked off with a reception on the evening of May 22 in the library's Teen Place. The select pieces of art on display were done by members of the MAMS Art Club, which Stevens oversees.
Katarina Schmidt, a sixth grader, has three watercolors in the show and was excited to see her art matted and on display with her classmates' pieces.
"I'm very proud of myself because I worked very hard on them and I'm one of the only sixth graders with their art put up on the wall," she said.
Schmidt enjoys the way the watercolors blend, and likes to paint whatever runs through her mind.
According to Stevens, many of the students paint what they see around them and use art as a way to explore their identity.
"They draw what they know, from music and pop culture. A lot of times they are finding their identity and drawing what they might be and what they might become," Stevens said.
But no matter what they are drawing, painting or creating, Stevens feels it is essential to encourage them.
"Just like a baseball player who has cheering fans, artists, who do most of their work in private, need cheering too," he said.
The art will be on display until mid-September in the library's .
"We're extremely proud to host this show tonight and give these students the opportunity to display their work," Paone said.