KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Museum of Art is preparing to house the 17th Annual East Tennessee Regional Art Exhibition this month. 

“It never ceases to amaze me where the talent is. There are so many gifted children who are interested in the arts, and it thrills my heart to see it continue,” said Stan Hillard, who is on the panel of judges. 

The exhibition showcases the art education programs in East Tennessee and celebrates the talented work of middle and high school students. 

“For one thing it’s a resume builder because they are showing their artwork in a professional institution, and they can use that if they decide to go on to an art school,” said Rosalind Martin, director of Education at KMA. 

More than 700 pieces of art were submitted and roughly half will be accepted in the competitive show. Categories for the competition include but are not limited to, mixed media, painting, sculpture and photography. 

Hillard, a retired Knox County Schools art teacher, follows the Feldman Method of Art Criticism to judge art. It involves four stages: description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation. 

“I try really hard not to pick works I like but to pick works that have merit and when I use that 4-step process that I talked about, my emotions about a work come last,” Hillard said. 

Hillard and other art educators are grateful the juried art exhibition gives students a platform to learn about the industry. 

“I think it’s very important to let the students be in an institution like this and show their artwork and their creativity because this is a starting point for them and it’s a great opportunity for them to be in this show,” Martin said. 

Students find out on Friday, Nov. 18 if their artwork will be accepted into this year’s exhibition.  The ETRSAE will be on view from Nov. 25 to Jan. 8 at the Knoxville Museum of Art for free.