March is Youth Art Month (YAM), a month for celebrating and advocating for Art Education, started in 1961 by the Council for Art Education. YAM is in place to recognize skills developed in visual arts experiences that are unlike those in any other curriculum areas.  Skills strengthened by art education include problem solving, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, confidence, and cultural awareness, just to name a few.  Newton is very blessed to have arts education beginning in elementary school, and a vibrant and active arts community. 

Students and staff at the schools where I teach art, Slate Creek and South Breeze, have created large,interactive works of art, "Wings," that are on display at Mojo's Coffee Bar, 300 27th St., North Newton and the Carriage Factory Art Gallery, 128 E. Sixth, Newton, through the month of March. Each student, and many staff members, created feathers that make up these large wings. This project was inspired by the work of street artist Kelsey Montague, who creates public wing paintings around the world for viewers to interact and take their photos with.  There are also other works of art by student artists on display at Mojo's.  
On March 21 from 6 to 8 p.m., Carriage Factory Gallery will be hosting a Third Thursday event featuring student art and including a dedication of the mural behind 526 N. Main, which was designed and painted by the Newton High School Art Club, led by Ray and Patrice Olais. Volunteers with the Newton Murals and Arts Project also participated in the mural painting.  This evening will also feature a pop-up gallery of student art work, 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the mezzanine at Prairie Harvest, 601 N. Main, sponsored by the Newton Arts and Culture Organization's "Spring Into the Arts."

Please consider visiting these displays during the month of March, and supporting and advocating for the arts and art education throughout the year.

— Beth Burns, Art Educator, Newton