Youth Art Connection, a children’s art education center and gallery on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, opened its doors and turned on its spotlights in 1996. Beautiful artworks by kids from all walks of life in Atlanta came to life and self-esteem flourished there for 18 years. Sponsored by United Way and operated by Boys & Girls Clubs, the connection gained national and international attention for its innovative programs, which included trips by young Atlanta artists to visit those in other countries who became their “paint pals.” The connection received an award from the United Nations for promoting friendship and understanding through the arts. Recently, the doors were locked and the lights went out.
The connection was a grand experiment. United Way and Boys & Girls Clubs deserve standing applause for their efforts. Fortunately, the international program has been taken over by Friendship Force International and will continue to thrive. Hopefully, other organizations will rescue other programs.
Volunteer for the International Paint Pals of Friendship Force International