The 6th Annual Gándara Youth Exhibit, ArtSong, hosted a gallery reception and silent auction on December 12 at Venture Valley Mentors in downtown Springfield. Artists in Gándara Center’s youth residential programs created 54 pieces as part of their art therapy for the event, which also included music performances.

Attendees were able to bid on all artwork on display. Event proceeds from the auction and t-shirts designed by one of the artists directly support young artists by providing supplies to help sustain Gándara’s art therapy program.

ArtSong is a fine arts specialty program that uses art instruction and innovative concepts to empower disadvantaged youth through creativity and inspires original artistic works and personal development. One of the artists, 13-year-old Alicia, liked the program, had high praise for the program. “It was great because it helped me express my feelings,” she said.

Hal, 22, submitted a painting and performed several songs. He said he has created art as long as he can remember. “Creativity has always been in my hands,” he explained. “I just love doing art.”

Amy Porchelli, founder/director said she enjoyed seeing the process of making art boost the youths’ confidence. “One of my favorite aspects of this year’s show was that the youth contributed what inspires them personally, whether their paintings were abstract or representative,” she said.