Student Art Exhibit celebrates community of young artists

Tiernan Stimpfl, 11, shows off his untitled clay sculpture at the 2023 Student Art Exhibit reception on Feb 26. Photo by Emmanuel Luissi/TMT.

Community Services Department event showcases the creativity and expression of Malibu children

The Community Services Department celebrated young local artists during the 2023 Student Art Exhibit reception on Feb 26. The reception kicked off the final week of the exhibit, which ran from Feb. 6 through March 3.

Art created by grade school Malibu students graced the walls of Malibu City Hall throughout the month of February as part of the yearly exhibit.

Each student who had their work displayed in the exhibit received a certificate of recognition from the Community Services Department, which featured a signature by Mayor Bruce Silverstein. 

The event was well attended as students grades TK through 12 came to revisit their work and also admire the work of fellow students in their community. Families shared in the excitement by taking pictures of artists next to their art, as well as highlighting the uniqueness and skill of other artists displayed throughout the hall.

Grant Folkerts, 16, is a sophomore at Malibu High School, and one of his photos, “Hummingbird Sanctuary,” was among those displayed at the exhibit. He said he enjoyed getting to see the artwork of local students and said it’s cool to see other perspectives of the world and beautiful Malibu. 

“I really enjoy it because most of this art isn’t just in school,” Folkerts said. “We can only shoot during school or in our class periods but here I’m seeing different types of artwork, I really like it.” 

Molly O’Neil, 16, also a sophomore at Malibu High said she was honored to have her work selected for the gallery. Her long exposure photo “Soul Mining” created an image of her father that made it seem as though he were a ghost in a mine. 

She said each artist brought a unique perspective to the gallery and she was excited her work was featured, showcasing her artistic expression.

“It’s pretty cool that they displayed so many pieces of art that are abstract and different,” O’Neil said.

She said art gives students freedom to express themselves.

“I think getting to create whatever you want is the best part,” O’Neil said. “There’s no rules really.”

The exhibit featured various different types of art like photography, digital artwork, oil pastel artwork, watercolor painting, pencil drawings on canvas, color pencil drawings on canvas, paper mache sculptures, clay sculptures, poetry, and more.

Recreation Coordinator Adrianna Fiori said this exhibit is important because it establishes a forum for children in Malibu to showcase their talent.

“It [exhibit] creates a sense of community,” Fiori said. “These young artists have a space to show their artwork and show off what they’re doing in their schools and on their own time.” 

Students who visited the gallery were excited to be featured within the halls of City Hall. Tiernan Stimpfl, 11, a fifth-grader at Malibu Elementary said it was an honor to have his clay sculpture featured with the collection.

“It’s pretty nice to have my art displayed here because I know that not everyone’s art can be displayed,” Tiernan said. 

The exhibit also gave younger artists the opportunity to be creative and explore their artistic ability. It allowed the younger children to have some of their first real exposure to artistic expression to a broader audience outside of the family home.

Nico Solomon is 6 years old and a first-grader at Our Lady of Malibu school. His oil pastel drawing “Mom Bird” was featured among the art of some of the youngest students in the exhibit. He was happy to see his artwork in the exhibit. He said he enjoys his artistic process while in art class with Ms. Petretti.

“I like that you never mess up,” Nico said. “I really like art and it’s what I really like to do.”

Leo Gigliotti is 7 years old and is also in first grade at Our Lady of Malibu. He was proud of his detailed peacock drawing titled “Happy Colors.”

“I really love it. I like how I did the background, and how I drew the head,” Leo said, as he grabbed his own head. 

Gina Longo, Leo’s mom, said she was so excited to hear that he wanted to participate in the exhibit. She said she’s impressed by how talented and enthusiastic he is about his work.

“I don’t know how he got into art, but he has always loved to draw,” Longo said. “He likes to freehand create things from his mind. For example, his peacock, he didn’t draw that from a peacock, he just sat and thought about what a peacock looks like and made his picture.”

Students and families are urged to check back in December 2023 for more information on next year’s Student Art Exhibit. 

The Community Services Department continues to host a wide range of events featuring speaker series, workshops, sports clinics, and much more throughout the year. Residents are urged to visit or on Instagram, @malibucommunityservices for news and updates.