Students at a Lantzville art school will be putting their work on display for the public in their first art exhibition.It’s a first not only for 4Cats art school but for the students – they’re just three to 14 years old.Their artwork will be on display at the downtown Nanaimo Art Gallery until March 10, with a gala opening Saturday (March 5), noon to 2 p.m.“I’m hoping that this is just the first of many shows, so that other 4Cats kids can show their works as well,” said school owner Tara Gray. “Art is so important for kids. Not only does it inspire and promote creativity and problem solving skills, but it builds confidence and a sense of pride.”4Cats, which Gray bought from founders Joey and Darryl Simon last year, is open to children from two years old to 15. One of the most popular programs is Artists of the Month, where students learn about two famous artists each session and create artwork in their style and spirit.Other classes include stop-motion animation, clay and sculpture, mixed medium and drawing, as well as seasonal workshops.“I am filled with joy and pride for my artists when they finish a painting that they’ve worked so hard on,” Gray said. “I know most of their paintings get hung in a spot of honour at home, but it will be so fantastic to see them in the Nanaimo Art Gallery and to share their talent and inspiration with others.”The gallery hosted children’s exhibitions in the past and the kids are proud to see their work displayed in a gallery setting, said Rose Dickson, from the art gallery.“It is inspiring for the kids to be exhibited in this way, and the public – adults and children alike – appreciate seeing the work of young artists,” she said. “We are happy to do whatever we can to encourage future generations of talented artists to continue their craft.”The artwork is currently on display at the gallery, open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.The gala is open to all ages, with refreshments and a draw for a free 4Cats splatter party.The gallery is also hosting an art auction for the North Island Wildlife Recover Centre and will be there with one of the birds.For more information, please call 250-933-2424.