Launch of the annual art supply campaign for young people | News, Sports, Jobs

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO – This piece was made by a very young boy who struggles to discuss his neglect and abandonment. He didn’t like coming to his sessions, so after he finished this beautiful piece of art, the YSS staff hung it up in a space where he can see it when he comes. When he saw his works on display, it brought him a pride he had never felt before. Now he doesn’t think coming to his sessions is that bad. He described his play as a dinosaur dad, taking care of his baby dinosaur.

The Arts and Culture Alliance is launching its third annual Art Sourcing Campaign in partnership with YSS of Marshall County.

This year there is a special challenge for the community. West Marshall High School’s student philanthropy program, LUCC (Leading Uplifting our Community with Charity), has awarded $1,000 to raise art supplies and the community is being asked to match those dollars. Every dollar donated up to $1,000 will be matched to help raise more than double what has been raised in past years.

The art supply campaign began in 2020 when YSS experienced a 75% increase in therapy cases due to increased anxiety, stress and fear of COVID-19. Originally, the Arts and Culture Alliance anticipated that this effort would be one-time. However, the response and benefits that have emerged from these art supplies have far exceeded expectations.

“We have countless stories of young people creating artwork on their healing journey and the results are breathtaking. You can visit the YSS office in downtown Marshalltown and see their walls decorated with artwork from their youth. Many of them who previously struggled to attend therapy and programs are now excited to participate because of the pride they feel in seeing their artwork on display,” said Amber Danielson, Executive Director of Arts and Culture Alliance.

In 2022, from January to June, YSS saw a 250% increase in the number of clients presenting for medication management. Young people are particularly vulnerable as they are often unable to verbally express what they naturally feel. However, YSS therapists can more effectively connect to their feelings through creative means. Art offers a way to express how they feel through color and content. The value of art – written poetry, drawn pictures, etc., often says more than the spoken word, especially those with limited language.

YSS Executive Director David Hicks said: “By supporting the Arts and Culture Alliance Art Sourcing Campaign, you are providing a tool to which some of the most vulnerable can safely communicate their concerns and their fears. Our young people will develop hope and understanding through creativity. What is often difficult to discuss can be more easily told through art.

YSS’s mission is to provide prevention, education, treatment and residential services to children, youth and families; to advocate on their behalf and help them solve problems, grow and be empowered, responsible and contributing members of society.

The Arts & Culture Alliance, a non-profit organization, was established in 2004 to cultivate an arts and culture community by supporting, promoting and enriching existing opportunities and seeking out new ones. Our mission allows us to focus on improving the quality of life in Marshalltown by making it a place where arts and culture thrive and the community thrives.

To donate art supplies for YSS of Marshall County: Make checks payable to Arts & Culture Alliance and mail to PO BOX 386, Marshalltown, IA 50158. Online donations are accepted at: (select Art Supply Drive).

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James C. Tibbs