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A powerful citywide art gallery and competition offered more than beautiful paintings and sculpture.  It was sponsored by The University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Violence Prevention Program as a way to give kids a way to express how they feel about violence in Baltimore and the world.  Many children in the city witness or are victims of violence, events that can have a transformative and traumatic impact on their lives for years. Sadly,  violence is the leading cause of death for young adults in Baltimore.

According to the Baltimore Times, “The University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center Violence Prevention Program’s mission is to prevent violent personal injury among Baltimore City’s most at-risk populations through research and evidence-based programs targeting the root causes of violence”.

It was founded by Dr. Carnell Cooper in 1998 to reduce the number of repeat victims of violence in Baltimore.

More than100 artworks were submitted by Baltimore City Public School students. The winners were: Ciaya Spence Highlandtown Elementary (Elementary School Category.); DaySean Matthews, City Springs Elementary (Middle School Category); and Mia Mohammed, Bard High School (High School Category).

“The artwork illustrates a number of things,” said Dr. Cooper. “You can see that the participants gave this issue some real thought. The artwork shows what is going on in their communities and personal lives. The violence around them is impacting them, and the way they proceed in their lives.

“It is concerning that they should have these kinds of thoughts as opposed to much more light-hearted thoughts. That is the nature of the communities that some of our kids are growing up in. It should be a wake-up call for all of us to put more thought into making our communities safer. Ultimately, children will feel more optimistic about the communities they are growing up in.”

Works of art are available for purchase.  Look out for this important event next year.

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Source: Arman Zhenikeyev / Getty


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