LANSING, Mich. — Each March, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing celebrates Youth Art Month, a national program founded by the Council for Art Education. Launched in 1961, Youth Art Month emphasizes the important role of the arts in a child’s education and why all children deserve to have a quality arts education program included in their school curriculum.
To align with the national program, in 2015, the Arts Council launched its “Support Young Creatives” Billboard Program and advocacy campaign. Now in its fifth year, the program allows area young artists, with the help of their teachers, to compete for billboard space throughout the region.
“This program is such a wonderful one, as it offers the opportunity for our area young artists to truly shine,” said Deborah E. Mikula, Arts Council executive director. “Our Young Creatives Program provides so many opportunities for youth in our region, and the billboard component really is the icing on the cake. It gives students, parents and the community the chance to see the value in providing arts opportunities for our young people and is a source of great pride for the students.”
This year, the Arts Council will feature the work of ten Lansing-area youth artists. The works will appear on Adams Outdoor Advertising digital billboards throughout the Greater Lansing region for the entire month of March.
“This program is an important part of our advocacy work at the Arts Council, and it would not be possible without the partnership of Adams and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union,” Mikula said. “They are both longtime supporters of the arts in our region and are excellent examples of how creative collaborations are integral to our success as a region that is centered on the arts.”
The 2019 Young Creative billboards feature the works of the following young creatives:
· Hanein Aldagher, Gardner International Magnet, Lansing School District, Third grade—Teacher, Nancy Cotter
· Ervin Burtley Jr., Cole Academy Lansing, Fourth grade—Teacher, Layna Lesnau
· Kat Fike, St. Johns High School, St. Johns County School District, Twelfth grade—Teacher, Kathy Heystek
· Mary Green, Lansing Catholic High, Diocese of Lansing, Twelfth grade—Teacher, Ron Krauss
· Hudson Hallead, Riley elementary, St. John’s School District, First grade—Teacher, Kelly Parsons
· Matilda MacDonald, Home School, Lansing, Second grade—Teacher, Hilary MacDonald
· Darius Reed, Wexford Montessori Academy, Lansing School District, Second grade—Teacher, Julia Naccarato
· Zoe Wendt, Cornell Elementary, Okemos Public Schools, Fourth grade, Teacher—Heather McNeilly
· Sylvia Yang, Lyons Elementary School, Lansing School District, Second grade, Teacher—Shari Apol
· Sophie Rutkowski, East Lansing High School, East Lansing School District, Twelfth grade—Teacher, Robin Remer-Saenz
All of the art works were submitted by Greater Lansing area teachers and final pieces were selected based on composition and overall visual elements, including roadside appeal, as well as their combined representation of ages and regions.
“We are grateful to all of our area teachers, students and families who put a great deal of hard work into this project that shines a light on the importance of arts education and builds pride, confidence and admiration for the arts in our young people,” said Mikula.
All of the original billboard art, along with more than 20 pieces of select student art from around the region, will be on display at the Arts Council of Greater Lansing through the month of March. The exhibition is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.