Unifying Youngstown through art

Unity is the theme of a Youngstown City Schools Visual and Performing Arts project that will soon be showcased at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

“Each building is making a collaborative painting,” explained Tracy Schuler Vivo, school district Visual and Performing Art coordinator. “It brings everyone together in the district.”

Students in both elementary and high schools had the opportunity to contribute to the Unity Project, painting in their own way on 3-foot by 4-foot canvases donated by the TIMBRE Group of Youngstown.

There will be 12 paintings total.

The paintings are set to be on display at Mill Creek MetroPark’s Fellows Riverside Garden Davis Center from Jan. 9-31. An open reception to meet the students and teachers behind the project will be at the Davis Center from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16.

Each painting will be accompanied by a quote explaining each building’s take on unity.

For example, Martin Luther King Elementary’s piece titled “Creating Together” is accompanied by art teacher Christine Williams’s quote, “Together we create.”

The piece is made up of a series of lines, symbols, letters and more – each from every art student in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Quenci Duckworth, 8, said her symbol was based on her goals for the future – to be a beautician.

She was excited to share a piece of herself with everyone else.

“I like that we all get to do this together because we’ve never done something like this before,” Quenci said.

Williams echoed Quenci’s sentiment.

“The kids like seeing a visual representation of their drawing in with the whole project,” she said. “It’s just nice – the fact that everyone is included, and we get to show the community that we are all part of something together.”

Other projects include visual representations of the blending of various cultures.

Choffin Career and Technical Center’s project, titled “Unity has no boundaries,” is accompanied by the following message: “When we have unity in our neighborhoods and communities, we can move barriers, mountains and even the world.

“Streets can become endless and the fences and barriers that once divided us no longer can be seen in our sights.”

The painting displays a road, with fence posts on each side and a white and black hand joining in the center sleeved with flags from several nations.

For information about the VPA Unity Project or VPA, contact Schuler Vivo at 330-744-8830 or Tracy.Schuler-Vivo@youngstown.k12.oh.us.

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