RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - 8News is once again a proud sponsor of the Valentine Richmond History Center History Makers Awards. This is the 10th year for the celebration, and we are looking back at one of the 2011 winners, Art 180.
The energy is contagious at the Art 180 Teen Center on West Marshall Street. Teens are busy working on a documentary project. Their clips make their public debut at the Virginia Repertory Theatre August 5, so the pressure is on in a good way.
"Does everybody know what they have to do today?" Jendayi Johnson asks the members of her team. The Huguenot High School student enjoys writing poetry and songs, but this introduction to filmmaking is also proving to be a creative outlet for her. Art 180 has been helping kids ages 8 to 18 express themselves through art since 1998.
Explains Co-Founder and Executive Director Marlene Paul, "It's really about 180 degree turns, so working with young people to experience personal change in their own lives and help them realize they can affect community change as well."
They do it through any art form that catches their attention. The walls are lined with paintings and paper mache. Donald Vick loves graphic design. "I used to be a really shy person, but I'm pretty open about anything now."
"I love Art 180. I'm here most of the time. It's become family," interjects Johnson. She and others say that sense of family, warmth and acceptance brings them back again and again.
Paul says some of them are growing up in challenging circumstances. They might not what to talk about their experiences, but Art 180 still allows them to tell their stories, share them and grow. "The thing that I'm most proud of is what's intangible and that's what a program like Art 180 does for a young person's sense of self and their sense of hope for their own future."
Winners of the 2014 History Makers Awards will be notified in early August. There will be a celebration for them on October 21 at the Valentine Richmond History Center. 8News Anchor Amy Lacey will serve as the emcee. Tickets to the event go on sale in September.
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