- Department of Youth Services
Media Contact for The Department of Youth Services’ Holds Virtual Youth Art Showcase
Boston, MA — On Wednesday May 19th, the Department of Youth Services (DYS) held their 8th annual “Share Your Art, Share Your Voice” Youth Arts Showcase. The event was held virtually and livestreamed from the WGBH Studios in Boston, MA. More than 400 people, including DYS staff, youth, families, Massachusetts state legislators, community partners and state agency officials, attended the virtual event.
The event livestream featured a youth interview with the Commissioner of DYS, performances from youth across the Commonwealth, and special guest Jerome Allen, Assistant Coach of the Boston Celtics. The event includes a virtual art gallery and sale to exhibit over 200 pieces of art. The proceeds from the sales will go directly back to the youth artists. The virtual art gallery is open for sales through June 9, 2021.
“DYS is committed to effective and creative engagement strategies with youth in our care and custody, as arts education has been a proven motivator for our youth and has supported their investment in their education,” said DYS Commissioner Peter Forbes. “The arts provide a channel for the emotions and expression of our young people, and our annual Share Your Art/Share Your Voice Youth Arts Showcase is an extremely important event for our youth and our community, especially after the challenging and isolating year.”
This statewide celebration illustrates the power of the arts used as a tool for healing, self-expression, community building as well as youth engagement in positive youth development practices. The annual Showcase is a 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 program.
“It’s been a tough but rewarding challenge to convert an event that has always been in person to a completely virtual experience. It was a process that forced a lot of us out of our comfort zones but has brought incredible benefits especially in terms of audience reach,” said Magda Spasiano, Program Manager for DYS Arts Initiative through Commonwealth Corporation. “For the first time the Showcase will be beamed into residential programs, allowing all the youth we serve the opportunity to experience both performances and the art gallery.”
This year’s performances featured rapping, singing, original songwriting, dancing and drumming from across the state. DYS has Five Visual Arts Leaders, one from each region, who have shown a deep commitment to the arts over the course of the year - their work was highlighted and are featured in the gallery with a personal video or written interview. The online gallery also features new items this year that explore digital media, including digital story-telling and short documentary films.
“When I created this painting, I wanted people to know even though you're in a bad situation you can find brightness and positivity in a form of art,” said Adrianna, youth artist whose painting is featured on the right.