WESTFIELD, NJ — Gallery U Boutique in Downtown Westfield will host “The Kids are Alright,” a show featuring the works of talented young artists in the Boys & Girls Club of Union, from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1. 

An opening reception, hosted by Gallery U, will take place on Friday, Jan. 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Twenty percent of all boutiques sales during the reception will be donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County.

"Gallery U is pleased to be hosting 'The Kids Are Alright," Gallery Manager Robert Langdon said. "We strive to support our community, and I couldn't think of a better way to do so than to work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County. We are pleased to not only allow our space to be used to fundraise for the club, but also to provide an opportunity for children to see their work hung in a gallery. Hopefully this will be just the beginning of an interest in art for the children participating in the program."

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The students featured in the show are participants in Elaine’s Art Club at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County’s flagship club in Union.

The club is sponsored by the Elaine Raphael Arts Fund (ERAF), a division of Living for a Cause, which fosters the talents of children eager to find a guiding hand to help them express their creativity and provides art education programs such as camps, in-school workshops and student mentoring by professional artists. The ERAF is named in honor of noted children’s book writer and illustrator Elaine Raphael, whose last wish was to continue to help children discover their artistic nature. The ERAF provides much-needed funding to school art programs and has developed Elaine’s Art Club to reach young artists in a variety of community settings.

The Boys & Girls Club program began in October when 15 students who showed an interest in art and demonstrated a commitment to developing their artistic talent were chosen for the program. Students were immersed in the classic approach to drawing. Beginning with charcoal and then pastels, the students learned basic drawing technique and sharpened their observation skills through the use of live models and still lives. 

Don Bolognese, ERAF’s artistic director, along with professional artists Malik Whitaker, Jeanne Greco and Ralph Abreu, worked directly with the students in this mentorship program.

“We are so proud of our members and delighted to partner with The Elaine Raphael Arts Fund and Gallery U,” Russell Triolo, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County, said.  “This partnership allows us to bring more programs to our members and showcase their talent to the Union County community.”

The program continues to be offered in eight- and 10-week sessions and will expand to the Plainfield and Elizabeth clubs in 2016. It’s free to members of the Boys & Girls Clubs and provides them with easels, aprons and art supplies.  Elaine’s Art Club also provides a leave-behind library of art books so that the young artists and others at the clubs may continue to use these as reference materials

 Gallery U is located at 439 South Ave. West.