Last fall and this spring, businesses and empty retail storefronts in the East Bay area of California have displayed different forms of art. What all of it has in common is that it was all created by kids, thanks to ‘Kids Paint the Town’, a project created by Jennifer Rogers when she took Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program.
The first exhibition last September included paintings by Piedmont High schoolers, sculptures by the Children’s Art Studio, photographs by children, some of them homeless, from an exhibit titled “Through a Child’s Eyes,” display quilts from students at Tehiya Day School, poetry, wood collage homes and more.
This spring, the project has exploded as almost 50 locations in the Rockridge and Elmwood districts of Oakland will exhibit youth art, thanks in part to Kids Paint the Town working with MOCHA, the Museum of Children’s Art located in Oakland.
“So often we have to go to a museum to see art,” says Rogers. “It’s neat to see it on our everyday streets.”
The spring Art launch got underway with a “Spring into Life” kickoff off party on the last weekend in March, featuring make your own art tables, refreshments and a tour of where the art was displayed locally. Many local businesses have come forward to support the project, which has been enthusiastically embraced by the community.
“It’s a way to make a difference,” says Rogers. “Sometimes we feel like it has to be so big, but small things like this can add up to bring the community together.”