Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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« Connecting traditional art forms to contemporary practices | Main | Youth Art Month - Art at its’ BEST! »

March 04, 2017

March is Youth Art Month

From: Debi West

YOUTH ART MONTH! Our National Celebration of Art Education…how cool is that!! I’m thinking it’s time to get our YAM JAM’s up and running and start planning some super fun and super important activities to generate excitement for this event! But first of all, let’s discuss what YAM is…exactly. I remember when I started teaching…way back when…a friend and colleague contacted me and asked me what I was planning on doing for YAM that year. I literally had NO idea what she was talking about so she filled me in a bit and the next thing I know I was using YAM to advocate for my program and began creating local events that brought the community and my student’s art together. 

According to the organization that created Youth Art Month, this is what (and why) YAM is:

* The Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) created Children’s Art Month in 1961 as an event to emphasize the value to children from participating in visual art education.
* In 1969 the celebration expanded to include secondary school students, and the Children’s Art Month event officially became known as Youth Art Month.
* In 1984, ACMI created the non-profit organization The Council for Art Education (CFAE) to advocate for visual art education.  CFAE coordinates the Youth Art Month program at the national level.


While Youth Art Month typically occurs in March, local and state events celebrating visual art education take place on almost a year round basis!  Events and fundraisers take place in schools, libraries, art centers, museums, and even state capitol buildings.

Youth Art Month Benefits

Youth Art Month exists to:

1. Recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curriculum that develops citizens of a global society.Recognize art is a necessity for the full development of better quality of life for all.
2. Direct attention to the value of art education for divergent and critical thinking.
3. Expand art programs in schools and stimulate new art programs.
4. Encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals everywhere.
5. Provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative art learning.
6. Increase community, business and governmental support for art education.
7. Increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures.
8. Reflect and demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education at all levels.

Visit the Council for Art Education's website for more information.

Now that you all know a little bit about the history of YAM, it’s time to consider some fun Youth Art Month activities to do with your students! I’d love to hear from you and see what your plans are! Stay tuned as I tell you about some of our current activities and some of our past state activities that were super successful!



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