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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 sixth year, the program invites area teachers to submit student art for the annual competition, which provides billboard space throughout the region.

“We look so forward to this campaign every year,” said Meghan Martin, Arts Council executive director. “It is one of our favorites as it provides an opportunity to focus on the arts from a youth perspective, celebrating our young creatives and their exemplary work,” Martin said.

This year, the work of six Lansing-area youth artists will be featured on Adams Outdoor Advertising digital billboards throughout the Greater Lansing region for the entire month of March. Original artworks 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. Each year one billboard is also awarded to the first-place winner of MSUFCU’s Student Art Exhibit.

The 2020 Young Creative billboards feature the art of the following youth artists:

--Callan Cockrom, Oakview South Elementary, St. Johns Public Schools, fourth grade—teacher, Joshua Gove

--Alaijah Pratt, Willow Elementary, Lansing School District, kindergarten—teacher, Amy Miros

--Bella Spagnulol, Williamston High School, Williamston School District—teacher, Meagan Kubu

--Kiele Ford, Lansing Christian School, Lansing School District—teacher, Katie Emery

--Liliana Dexheimer, Cole Academy East, Cole Academy—teacher, Layna Lesnau

--Allison French, Mason High School, twelfth grade—teacher, Jennifer Harrington

“This program is an important piece of our youth arts advocacy and our mission. It shows our community and area youth that the arts matter and that thinking creatively is an important skill to foster,” said Martin. “We are extremely grateful to all of our area teachers, students, families and sponsors who work with us to make this happen.”

All of the original billboard art, along with more than 20 pieces of select K-12 student art from around the region, will be on display at the Arts Council through the month of March. An opening reception will be held on Friday, March 6, during Arts Night Out. The public is invited to stop in and meet all of the youth artists and view their work.

The Young Creatives Billboard Program and annual campaign is sponsored by Adams Outdoor Advertising, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union—Desk Drawer Fund, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.