NBC12 Viewpoint: Art 180 teaching youth

By Don Richards, NBC12 Regional Vice President and General Manager

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The American author Thomas Merton wrote "art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." This is exactly what the Richmond non-profit Art 180 hopes to accomplish with our young people.

Art 180 partners with local schools and agencies to bring the arts to children living in challenging circumstances. The goal is to help them find their creative potential and in the process lose their fear of expression.

Professional artists and volunteers work with children after school for 12 weekly sessions.  Most program participants are in 5th through 10th grade. Depending on their age and interests the weekly programs offer opportunities to learn about and create visual and performance art.

The programs culminate with an opportunity for the students to publicly present their artwork. These can include performances, displays and publications.  Each spring all the Art 180 participants are honored in a lively community gathering called The Big Show.

Oscar Wilde famously said "life imitates art far more than art imitates life." Through the work of Art 180 these students have a chance to influence their surroundings in a positive and enduring way. You can learn more about the opportunities to help Art180 with donations or volunteer time by visiting www.art180.org.

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