St. Joseph Center transformed its general activity room into an art gallery on Thursday, August 17th, to showcase the creative talent of youths from the Santa Monica and Venice communities.

Eleven children, ages six to 12, spent three days a week for five weeks exploring various mediums, including beadwork, Chinese scroll painting and tie-dye.

Led by St. Joseph Center staff member Joshua Fontanez, the children built vejigante carnival masks, which are dragon-like southern Puerto Rican papier-m’chÈ creations.

With the help of local poets Marc Wiseman and Michele Carter, the children wrote, illustrated and bound short books of poetry.

“It was a chance for the children to explore cultural traditions and combine them with their own imagination,” says Fontanez, who organized the summer of art.

St. Joseph Center’s Family Center offered the summer arts program free to low-income families.

The Family Center serves more than 800 working poor families with multiple programs for children including after-school tutoring and mentoring for teenage boys and girls.

Information, www.stjoseph

SUMMER ART — Local youths find outlet for self-expression at the St. Joseph Center’s summer art program. From left are Yesenia Palacios, Alondra Mendez and Jesus Palacios.