The 5th Annual Gándara Youth Art Exhibit, ArtSong, hosted a gallery reception and silent auction on June 7 at the former federal building, 1550 Main Street in Springfield. The family-friendly event featured youth paintings and live music performances.

Youth artists in the ArtSong Arts Enrichment Program spent months working on their pieces as a part of their art therapy. Of the 65 pieces on display, created by youth ages 3 through 17 years, more than 10 Gándara Center residential DCF programs were represented at the show.

Attendees were able to bid on all artwork on display. Event proceeds from the auction and t-shirts designed by one of the artists will directly support young artists by providing supplies to help sustain this unfunded art therapy program.

“It’s so inspiring to see what the youth created—not only for me, but also for the artists,” said Amy Porchelli, founder/director of ArtSong. “They really enjoyed the process of making art and they got a true sense of accomplishment because they saw what they could do for the community as artists.”

The ArtSong program gives the youth a place to say how they feel and what they believe, according to Porchelli. “Most therapy is focused on the individual, but this program is a peer environment, which allows them to have fun, build their confidence, and creates a lot of dialogue. It’s a very therapeutic experience,” she said.

Porchelli said some of the artists were new to the program and there were some who have been in it for quite a while and came to the reception to perform music they had developed and recorded at the Gándara Center’s Holyoke Youth Development Center media lab studio. “I’m really excited about that,” she said. “I think it shows a comfort level about being a part of this amazing enrichment program. They want to be heard. I think that ties in nicely with this year’s exhibit theme: ‘Voices of Legacy-Youth United.’ They are creating their own legacy.”

34810737_1350507708382280_2076444764370108416_n - Copy 35053822_1350507561715628_1573340996920410112_n 34879209_1350507628382288_7124240808550596608_n 34872861_1351740174925700_3256893272722767872_n 34861452_1350507731715611_364994696000307200_n 34858601_1350507428382308_9103022457605849088_n  34857107_1350507611715623_989310686880333824_n - Copy 34830142_1350507285048989_1714163452613754880_n - Copy 34811904_1350507301715654_2464811654487998464_n - Copy 34790161_1350507291715655_4532107034711031808_n - Copy 34775607_1350507515048966_6840760846616887296_n - Copy 34755374_1350507755048942_2285082709262860288_n - Copy 34752139_1350507435048974_5087877280282181632_n - Copy