Brooks brings light to youth art month 


Adrian Kavazovic

Student artwork is displayed in the Valley Mall.

Jolie Sallah, Social Media Editor in Chief

Every year, students participate in Youth Art Month during the month of March and showcase their creations. Due to having in person school, the art shows and exhibits were able to resume again. The co-chairs of Youth Art Month for the state of Virginia, Art teachers Jauan Brooks and Kelley Shradley-Horst, planned and executed many different activities and showcases throughout the month. 

“For youth art month, we try to celebrate in some way. It’s a national celebration [and] in the city we always do an annual division show. Kindergarten through 12th graders [have] an exhibit at the Valley Mall [from March] 26 [to] April 1,” Brooks said. 

Along with displaying in the Valley Mall, the art work is also showcased throughout the school. In addition, students participate in class activities throughout the month. 

 “There is a display in the showcase outside the library, in counseling [and] in the library. Other teachers are doing activities, I know [Ms. Shradley-Horst] was doing buttons yesterday,” Brooks said. 

As co-chairs of Virginia, Brooks and Shradley-Horst are responsible for advocating for the arts.

“Youth art month is a national celebration and each state in the country has a chair or in our co-chair responsibility,” Brooks said. “We disseminate all the information to all the school systems in Virginia about how they can celebrate, how they can exhibit art, and share what they do in their classrooms with their community.”

Being a co-chair pushed Brooks out of her comfort zone.

“[Being co-chair is] overwhelming sometimes. I’m not a huge social media person, but everyday this month I have been posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It is fun to see what other schools across the country and state are doing,” Brooks said. 

Brooks and the Art department continue to bring awareness during Youth Art Month and celebrate students’ work.

“Art is always important. Sometimes we forget about it, people don’t know what happens in the classroom,” Brooks said. “Many of the 21st century skills that we as educators are supposed to instill in our students, we [still] do in the art classroom every day.” 

Youth Art Month has an effect on the students in the high school and an impact on the community. Brooks emphasizes the importance of bringing awareness on how art can help students. 

“[It is important to] teach people the benefits [and] the importance of learning what we do in the classroom [ and to] understand that you do problem solve [and] learn critical thinking,” Brooks said. “It’s a big deal for us to make sure that city council and [the] school board know what we do [and] why we do what we do.”