Student Artwork Comes Alive

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More than 100 pieces of art created by students of Frontier Elementary School and the Shelby School will grace the walls of Fireside Espresso for the visual enjoyment of parents, children and the public.

Community artists Jay and Kasandra LeBow offered an after-school art program in early 2006 that provided local children with a creative outlet.

Brush strokes and pen work turned blank sheets of white paper into colorful works of art themed, "How would I make this day better?"

"The kids were enthusiastic and they loved to make a contribution to the community," Kasandra LeBow said.

The Kiwanis club donated $500 for professional framing.

The work of the LeBows fill the gaps that funding cuts have left for the children of Payson. To shore up programs such as Credit for Kids, which provide funding for flagging curricula, the LeBows established a nonprofit organization called Artists Rock for Nonviolence.

Twenty-eight million American children come home to an empty house with nothing to do.

In place of after-school art and activity programs -- blacked out by budget cuts -- juvenile crime peaks during the hours after the bell rings, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

But children who participate in some type of creative activity tend to achieve scholastically.

"You cannot tell an artist what to do," Kasandra LeBow said. "The goal is to inspire kids to have a mind of their own so they're not pressured by peer groups."

The Arizona Alliance for Arts Education reported that students who engage in an artistic endeavor for at least three hours, three days a week, for at least one year, achieve more social and academic recognition.

The LeBows created Children's Art Reaches Everyone or C.A.R.E. under the auspices of Artists Rock for Nonviolence. C.A.R.E incorporates art, especially children's creativity, to foster community support among businesses and altruistic organizations.

Don't miss the reception for the children's exhibit from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at Fireside Espresso. For more information, contact Jay or Kasandra LeBow at (928) 474-9819.

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