Approximately 500 art projects created by high school students in seven counties will be on display on Saturday, June 11 for the Body Electric Arts and Health Festival at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.
The Arts and Health Festival is an opportunity for area youth who have created innovative and effective awareness and prevention messages through the arts. The projects will include a variety of visual materials from paintings, drawings and sculptures to photography and poetry. With a solid foundation in tested prevention strategies, the main goal of the program is developing and promoting messages through student artwork that will lead to healthy lifestyle choices. The works have been created by middle school and high school aged students in Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie and Shelby counties and they will be available for viewing from 11am to 2 pm on June 11. The projects promote messages of healthy lifestyle choices based on the 2014 Illinois Youth Survey, which was taken by high school and middle school students in seven counties.
The program encourages creative expression from the students, as they develop messages that creatively express their health concerns for each other and the general public as well. Jenna Hilligoss and Julie Meinhart, program coordinators, explained that the key goals include 1) promoting more awareness of the issue/problems, 2) encouraging reflective thinking about personal behavior, and 3) generating some dialogue and interaction as people come together to view and talk about the works.
Body Electric is a program for teens that uses the arts to communicate healthy lifestyle choices to their peers through a three-stage process. First, a survey is conducted to determine subjects of concern for area youth. Then, students choose a health issue, research the best method to convey their prevention messages, and then create a work of art that is taken to area schools throughout East Central Illinois. For more information about Body Electric, please visit https://BodyElectric.sarahbush.org or call Body Electric at 217-258-4570.