Last week, 40 sixth graders from M.S. 8 Brooklyn visited the YOasis (the YO S.O.S. workshop space) as part of their unit, “Can art change the world?” With one class on Thursday and one class on Friday, the YO S.O.S. staff led workshops in which we discussed murals that the students had seen in Crown Heights, drawings and paintings that other Brooklyn youth made last year as part of our annual Arts to End Violence contest, and how art can play a part in changing minds and reducing violence.

The middle schoolers were enthusiastic about their unit. They were eager to tell us what they were learning! They had tons of opinions about art and how it can be used to make Brooklyn–and the world–a safer place.

One student offered, “Maybe we can tell people who are about to use violence to express themselves through art instead.  It could help them calm down and make different choices.”  At the end of each workshop, the students got in on the action themselves, designing and drawing anti-violence art. Their exciting, inspiring, and beautiful posters now fill the YOasis, as their energy and passion did last week.

  And we hope that all of them, plus many, many more Brooklyn students, submit to Arts to End Violence in the spring! (Stay tuned– more information on that coming in the next few months!) YOUTH POWER!