Valley students collaborate on Unity Through Nature art project

Aspiring artists from several Mahoning Valley school districts and Youngstown State University have joined Youngstown City School District students in this year’s Visual and Performing Arts Unity Project.

Unity Through Nature is the theme for this year’s project, which involves students from each YCSD school as well as those from YSU, Boardman, Liberty, Austintown, Poland, Lowellville, South Range, Struthers, the Diocese of Youngstown, Campbell and Columbiana creating a painting.

“The collaborative visual art pieces spanning from preschool to post-secondary are both beautiful and inspiring,” Tracy Schuler-Vivo, YCSD’s visual and performing arts director, said in a news release. “My hope and belief through this project is that together we will reach those in this community, both young and old, with a message of strength, power and the importance of unity throughout our area. This year we pay tribute to nature and, in particular, our beautiful Mill Creek MetroParks.”

Schuler-Vivo left it up to each district which school or schools they wanted to be involved so the project includes works across grade levels. The project involves thousands of area students.

All of the pieces will be on display at a Jan. 11 reception that is open to the public at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitors’ Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens. The reception begins at 1 p.m. The exhibit will remain at the gardens through Feb. 9.

From there, the paintings will travel to the main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County in downtown Youngstown where they will be on display from March 18 through April 8. They also will be featured in YSU’s April 25 Federal Frenzy.

The works then will be on display for the VPA Celebrate the Arts performances April 29 at East High School, 474 Bennington Ave., and May 7 at Chaney High School, 731 S. Hazelwood Ave. Both performances begin at 5 p.m., and admission is free.

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