By Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean March is Youth Art Month, a time for us to appreciate the important role the fine arts play in the development of our youth. Engagement in the fine arts, such as music, painting and theater, are an essential part of any school curriculum and a vital component in the educational program of every student. Art allows children to express their emotions and ideas, explore different kinds of media, experiment with different designs and expand their creativity and imagination. In addition, it helps build motor skills, decision making skills and perseverance. To celebrate Youth Art Month, the City of Santa Clarita will be hosting its third annual Youth Arts Showcase on Saturday, March 24, at The Centre from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. I highly recommend families attend! The annual event gives students in the Santa Clarita Valley an opportunity to showcase their talent by performing or displaying their art for the community. Each school district will highlight their visual artists and performing artists; local dance studios will lead participatory movement and dance classes; student artists will display their street painting masterpieces and local art studios will give interactive art demonstrations. Stroll around the Santa Clarita Youth Art Gallery to view and admire artwork submitted by local students in the contest categories of: art on canvas, technical art, and pen and paper. You can even take part in the contest and vote for your favorite piece to win the “People’s Choice” award. A special ceremony announcing the winners will be held at 1:30 p.m. Children will want to stop by the Interactive Youth Art Area, where they will be able to explore their artistic skills with activities such as shadow puppet making, art robots, face painting and guided art drawing lessons. For a special experience, visit the Street Painting Area, located in the parking lot of The Centre. Watch color transform the floor as youth street painting teams use pastels to paint masterpieces in the middle of the parking lot. Designs for the chalk art have been submitted by members of the community. The vibrant paintings will be available for viewing all day – but be sure to stop by before they are washed away at the close of the event. If you are in the mood to relax and watch performances, make your way to the Performing Arts Stage to see presentations by youth choruses, dance teams and the CalArts ensemble. The Oak Room Stage will also be open throughout the day treating visitors to spoken-word poetry and storytelling. If you or your kids prefer to break it down with some dance moves, you’ll want to stop by the Interactive Dance Room where youth are invited to dance to the beat with free Hip Hop, Polynesian and African dance lessons taking place every hour. The Santa Clarita Youth Arts Showcase is a wonderful event for the whole family. I hope you can make it this year and help us celebrate the creativity of our youth in Santa Clarita. The Centre is located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. For additional information regarding the Youth Arts Showcase, please visit SantaClaritaArts.com. Marsha McLean is Mayor Pro Tem of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].