Local youths showcase artwork, poetry, and performances in collaboration with UMBC's Choice Program

City Paper

There are at least a half dozen art openings this weekend, but one of them seems particularly forward-thinking. Tomorrow, a hundred or so youths from UMBC's Choice Program—which aims to empower "at-risk" and adjudicated youth in Baltimore City, Prince George's, Montgomery, and Baltimore counties through art-making and writing workshops—present the Youth in Action showcase, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Graffiti Warehouse at 128 W. North Ave.

"This year's Youth in Action aims to use art as a means of catharsis and a platform for the voices of youth to be heard in their communities," reads the press release. 

Eric Ford, the director of operations for the Choice Program, says we can expect mosaics, silhouette portraits, and freehand art pieces, along with spoken word, dance, and short theatre performances from the kids, who range in age from 8 to 18 years old. The program currently has about 44 Community Service Learning Fellows, who are college graduates and also part of AmeriCorps.*

Since its implementation 25 years ago, the Choice Program has worked with "nearly 90,000 youths and families throughout communities in Maryland," according to its website.

If you can't make it out to the show tomorrow, you check out some of the poems and artworks on the Choice Program blog. From a poem by one of the Choice Youth, referred to as "C": "Art is important to me and to the world so do not give up on art, do not ball it up like a piece of paper. SO love your art and give it life so have a good day."


*An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that the Community Service Learning Fellows are all UMBC graduates. City Paper regrets the error.

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