- Department of Youth Services
Media Contact for The Department of Youth Services Holds 9th Annual Youth Art Showcase
Kathryn Laverriere, Director of Communications
Boston — The Department of Youth Services Holds 9th Annual Youth Art Showcase
On Thursday May 19th, the Department of Youth Services (DYS) held its 9th annual “Share Your Art, Share Your Voice” Youth Arts Showcase. The hybrid event was held in person and virtually from the WGBH Studios in Boston, MA. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Acting Commissioner Cecely Reardon, DYS staff, youth, families, Massachusetts state legislators, community partners and state agency officials attended the event.
Individuals who attended the in-person event had the opportunity to visit three galleries including the traditional Art Gallery and sale, new blacklight & projection gallery, as well as a gallery with recorded performances. DYS’ Five Visual Arts Leaders, representing each of DYS’ geographic regions of operation led tours of the galleries. Over 300 pieces of youth art were on exhibit and for sale, with all proceeds going directly back to the youth artists.
“It is essential that our youth have access to resources and outlets to develop and showcase their talents and abilities.”, said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “It is wonderful From left to right: “Motherland” by Shanellys, “Spread Love, Speak Up, Stand Together” by Ashlee, and “Waterfall” by NKA to see youth express themselves through a creative lens where they are able to build confidence, strengthen their identity and engage in positive and meaningful work.”
The pre-recorded performances featured a youth interview with Acting Commissioner Reardon, performances from youth across the Commonwealth and a special guest appearance by Dwayne Betts who has crafted poetry and essays that explore the world of prison and the effects of violence and incarceration on American society. Other pre-recorded performances included a rap performance, poetry, and a crochet tutorial involving DYS youth statewide.
“The annual youth arts showcase helps youth recognize who they are and how they want to express themselves,” said DYS Acting Commissioner Cecely Reardon. “We will continue to provide services that create spaces and programs that offer young people an outlet during challenging life experiences.”
“This year, we had the opportunity to experience the youth arts showcase the way it was meant to be- in person,” said Magda Spasiano, Program Manager for DYS Arts Initiative through Commonwealth Corporation. “The hybrid setup of this year’s showcase allowed the youth we serve an opportunity to experience live performances and the art gallery.”
This yearly statewide celebration illustrates the power of the arts used as a tool for healing, self-expression, community building as well as opportunities for youth engagement and positive youth development. The Showcase is the culmination of DYS’s year-round arts programming that includes the arts education, arts mentorships and arts-based employment opportunities. In partnership with DYS, Commonwealth Corporation operates the DYS Arts Initiative, managing independent artists and arts organizations working with DYS youth in residential and community settings. The DYS Art Teachers, employed by education provider The Collaborative for Educational Services, provides year-round arts education and is the foundation for DYS’ high quality, visual arts programming.
For more information on the Department of Youth Services’ please go to www.mass.gov/DYS.