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BURNET —  March is Youth Art Month in Burnet County, and that means it’s time to encourage young artists. That’s the word from Burnet County Commissioners, who are asking residents to support “quality art programs” for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

“Art is a part of 21st century learning,” said Samantha Melvin, an R.J. Richie Elementary School fine arts teacher. “Art engages youth in critical and creative thinking, problem-solving and the development of discipline and perseverance.”

About 350 original works created by Burnet Consolidated Independent School District students will be displayed during Youth Art Month, sponsored by the Texas Art Education Association and several other nonprofit organizations.

“(Art) pushes students to think outside of the box and provides them with a voice to share what they know and how they think. Art education is the education of the whole child,” Melvin said

Two venues have been designated for the exhibition, including the Galloway-Hammond Recreation Center in Burnet, 1601 S. Water St., and the former hardware store next to the Herman Brown Free Library, 100 E. Washington St.

Also, an artistic piece by Burnet High School student Alyssa Leffler will be shown March 6-12 in Austin at the state Capitol.

“Her work will be one of 100 pieces on display (at the Capitol),” Melvin said.

Youth Art Month has been observed across the nation since the Art and Creative Materials Institute and the National Art Education Association founded the event in 1961.

Other sponsors include the Association of Crafts and Creative Industries, General Federation of Women, Hobby Industries Association and National Art Materials Trade Association.