There are students selling jewelry, photography, and paintings; students singing and playing instruments, and they’re all in the same place.
This mass gathering of student artists is the annual Young Emerging Artists festival, or YEA.
YEA is organized by the Decatur Arts Alliance. Students pay a small entrance fee to showcase and sell their art.
This year, the 4 hour event will take place on September 24th, in Harmony Park.
Angie Macon, head of the Decatur Arts Alliance, made YEA real 3 years ago after hearing community suggestions and feedback. “We do have a wealth of student artists and musicians,” Macon said. “We should showcase them.”
In addition to showcasing artists, the YEA event also gives students the opportunity to explore art as a career path. “Professional artists make their living by selling their work, and their (the students) work should not be given away,” Macon said.
Although the event is open to students grades K-12, more students in grades K-5 participate than kids in middle or high school. “We feel really fortunate when we do have a lot of kids in middle school and high school,” Macon said.
Despite a shortage of the older students, the majority of the musical performers are in the higher grades. One of these performers, Kristina Jones, is a sophomore at Decatur High School.
Jones first heard about YEA from her younger sister. She participated last year as a photographer. However, this year, Jones will be singing. “I think it’s really important to have a name for yourself if you’re really passionate about something,” Jones said.
YEA will certainly give Jones that chance. Jones is one of many artists who will be singing or playing an instrument on the stage in Harmony park. Not only will she have her fellow artists for an audience, but the Decatur community members who come to support these students.
For some, YEA may be about making money. However, for many like Jones, it’s about how she can get her music and art out to the world.