LANSING, MICH. — Each March, the Arts Council ofGreater Lansing celebrates Youth Art Month with its Young Creatives BillboardProject. Youth Art Month is a nationalprogram founded by the Council for Art Education in 1961 and 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 ArtsCouncil launched its “Support Young Creatives” Billboard Project and advocacy campaign. Now in its seventh year, the program invites area teachers to submitstudent art for the annual competition, which provides digital billboard spacethroughout the region. 

“Our Young Creatives Billboard Project is one of ourfavorite programs at the Arts Council, and this year it holds even more significance due to all the challenges students have faced recently,” said Meghan Martin,Arts Council executive director. “Our area students haven’t had the same opportunities to share their work as they normally would in a school year. This project allows us to shine a light on their talents and share their creativity with the community.” Martin said.

This year, the work of six Lansing-area youth artists will befeatured on Adams Outdoor Advertising digital billboards throughout the Greater Lansing region for the entire month of March. Original artworks weresubmitted by Greater Lansing area teachers and final pieces were selected basedon 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. This year’s winner will be announced mid-March, and that billboard will join therotation along with the other Young Creatives at that time.

The 2021 Young Creative billboards feature the art of thefollowing youth artists:

·      Naomi Eckford, Marble Elementary, East Lansing School District, kindergarten—teacher, Karolyn Sung

·      Benjamin Eyke, Williamston High School, Williamston Community Schools, twelth grade—teacher, Meagan Kubu

·      Zoe Jansen, Waverly High School, Waverly Community Schools, Senior—teacher, Lisa Lam-Wilson

·      Emma J. Li, Chippewa Middle School, Okemos School District, eighth grade—teacher, Vivian Dwyer

·      Mario Mares, Cole Academy East, Cole Academy, third grade—teacher, Samantha Davis

“Animportant part of our mission and our advocacy work is highlighting the significant role that the arts play in youth education, and it shows our area students that the arts are key to building community and need to be seen,” said Martin. “We are extremely grateful to all of our area teachers, students, families and sponsors who work with us to make this happen.”

The Young Creatives Billboard Project and annual campaignis 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.