By LILLY REESE — The Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) North County Student Art Exhibit, featuring 800 pieces of student artwork from 120 schools, opened on March 28 and county administrators and University of Maryland program directors could only say one thing — “wow!”

For the second year, artwork from northern-area schools was on display at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Grand Pavilion at the University of Maryland (UMD). Elizabeth Stuart, Visual Arts Program Supervisor for PGCPS, praised students for their unique creativity to have their artwork chosen to be entered in the exhibit.

“The visual arts are crucial to the development of the whole child and play a vital role in supporting the core values at the heart of PGCPS,” Stuart said.

Art educators carefully picked which pieces were going to represent their school and be included in their respective school’s display, according to Associate Executive Director for The Clarice, Erica Bondarev Rapach.

Out of the 800 entries, a number of students from Hyattsville Elementary School, Felegy Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, University Park Elementary, Hyattsville Middle School and Northwestern High will have their artwork move on to various exhibits next year. Participants won’t be chosen until closer to the dates of each exhibit, Stuart said in an email.

“It’s very very important to learn an art form, but it’s almost more important to show off your skills. And [at the show] we have an amazing display of skills,” said Marketing and Communications Manager for Prince George’s County Joshua Reynolds.

The display was so impressive that both Bondarev Rapach and Jason Geary, director of the School of Music at UMD, admitted to being blown away.

“I have been working now in this building for 10 years and I came in on Monday morning and I got chills when I saw the amount of art in this space because I am seeing the space in a new light,” Bondarev Rapach said.

The exhibit will remain open to the public until Tuesday, April 2, around 9 p.m.  

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