Inspiring creativity in youth

Children participate in a variety of arts and crafts during the annual Youth Art Showcase. Georgia Rios/ The Signal
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With three children of our own, my wife and I have accumulated an impressive amount of our children’s arts and crafts over the years. What we love best is how expressive and unique each work of art is. That is what art does – allows you to express your thoughts and emotions.

March is Youth Art Month, a month to remind us the importance of youth art and art education. Youth art is more than just colorful scribbles on a piece of paper – art is vital in childhood development. When a child is too young to be able to express their thoughts and feelings articulately, they can instead channel it through various forms of artistic expression such as coloring, music or movement.

There’s a reason art programs are an essential part of every school curriculum. Engagement in the fine arts, such as music, painting and theater, help build necessary skills. Children who are allowed to experiment with art and different mediums improve their motor skills, gain a boost in confidence and show enhancements in creativity, observation, self-expression, focus, perseverance, collaboration and much more.

To celebrate Youth Art Month, the city of Santa Clarita will once again be hosting its free Youth Arts Showcase on Saturday, March 23, at The Centre from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event will be a wonderful time for families, and is open to the public.

This year marks the fourth year of the showcase, which 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.

The Santa Clarita Youth Art Gallery will display artwork submitted by local students in the contest categories of: art on canvas, technical art, and pen and paper. Take a look, and when you’ve decided, vote for your favorite piece to win for the “People’s Choice” award. An awards ceremony announcing the winners will be held at 1:30 p.m.

After getting inspired by the art showcased in the gallery, take your children to create some art of their own at the Interactive Youth Art area. Here, young artists will be able to learn how to make shadow puppets, build art robots and receive guided drawing lessons.

Don’t miss the street painting area, located in the parking lot of The Centre. Youth street painting teams and individuals will be using pastels to paint masterpieces they designed in the middle of the parking lot. Always colorful and fun to take pictures of, these paintings will be available for viewing all day.

Soak in the beautiful sounds at the Performing Arts Stage where you can enjoy performances 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 your child shows an interest in movement and dance, be sure 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.

We host the Santa Clarita Youth Arts Showcase every year and we always have a wonderful time. Get the kids together and head over to The Centre for a full day of celebrating youth creativity and art. Who knows, maybe your kid will leave the event inspired and wanting to be the next Picasso!

The Centre is located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. For additional information regarding the Youth Arts Showcase, please visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

Cameron Smyth is the mayor pro tem of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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