“That one is yours?! Wow, that’s great Pono!” The excitement in Pono’s parents’ voices could be heard from across the gallery. Their jubilance is a reminder of the positive impact the Art School has on students and their families.

Pono’s works are currently on view in Young Artist Summer 2015—the latest Young Artist exhibition, which takes place at the end of each semester. The shows feature works by every student in Art School summer classes. We invite you to see the ceramics, drawings, paintings, and mixed-media creations by kids of all ages. Summer is such a productive time that the art spills out of the main exhibition hall and into the hallways and mezzanine of the Art School, and still there isn’t enough room to display everything.

“Our instructors are outstanding local artists,” says Art School director Vince Hazen. As we walk around the exhibition he points out Noah Matteucci of the printmaking collective .5ppi and Emily McIlroy—both of whom are exhibiting artists in Artists of Hawai‘i 2015—as just a couple of examples of that fact.

Assistant director of the Art School Pearlyn Salvador oversees the instructors, which goes beyond identifying their artistic strengths. “You wouldn’t put just any instructor with a kindergarten class,” says Hazen. “What Pearlyn is brilliant at is matching the instructors with the right class, and beyond that, matching assistant volunteers from McKinley High School who are compatible with those instructors.”

To Hazen, the exhibition is a reminder of why we emphasize youth arts education. “We might produce some really great artists that go on to create works that end up in a museum’s permanent collection, and of course that’s special,” says Hazen. “But every kid that takes courses here is going to be better prepared for whatever is in store in their future. They learn about the creative process, and about experimentation, which results in all kinds of positive benefits that go beyond being an artist. They’ll be better problem solvers, and better entrepreneurs. Our world is changing really fast. We don’t know what kind of jobs are going to be available when today’s kindergarteners enter the job market, but I know these art classes are going to help prepare them for whatever that is.”

Young Artist Summer 2015 ends July 30. Interested in cultivating your child’s creativity through art? Registration for fall classes begins August 4. See what classes are available here.