By Ryan Richardson
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Some of the area’s best young photographers had their work on display Sunday in the PhotoSpiva Kids gallery at Spiva Center for the Arts.
Now in its fifth year, PhotoSpiva Kids accompanies the long-running PhotoSpiva photographic competition. Part class and part art show, children 4 to 8 years old get to take part in a class where they get to learn about different aspects of photography before shooting their own work over a period of a week.
Jo Mueller, director of Spiva Center for the Arts, said the opportunity for kids to be able to participate in the event is a unique one.
“It really becomes exciting for them because this is one of those rare opportunities to learn something and literally be doing it shortly after,” Mueller said. “The kids are savvy. They can tell you why something looks good and why it works as a photo. They have such a unique way of looking at the world, and you see an excitement in them to capture it.”
The artists’ photos are framed and matted, then hung at a child’s eye level.
“It also becomes a pleasure to see their work on display, both for adults and for them,” Mueller said. “There is a great deal of talent with those kids. That’s one week for them to capture what they want to see, and they did great work in that time.”
Carl Junction resident Kellen Badgley celebrated his ninth birthday at Sunday’s opening. Badgley has participated in all five years of PhotoSpiva Kids. Sunday marks the last time he could participate. Badgley said his grandmother, who also is a budding photographer, signed him up originally.
“I’ve had a lot of fun coming out to this and I wish I could keep competing,” Badgley said. “I think this has helped me see things in different perspectives and to be able to see through other people’s cameras. This is how I wanted to spend my birthday, because it’s fun.”
Badgley received the “Most Iconic Photo” during Sunday’s award presentation. Badgley shares camera time with his 6-year-old sister Acadia, who also competed Sunday.
“This is something I will keep doing,” Badgley said. “I want to shoot pictures as much as possible.”
The PhotoSpiva Kids entries will be on display until the end of March in the upstairs gallery at Spiva Center for the Arts. The main PhotoSpiva competition will kick off March 9 and will continue through May 5. An awards ceremony will take place on March 15.