Ordinary objects in downtown Anchorage may look a little bit different in the coming months thanks to the artistry of some Alaska students.

Celebrated nationwide since 1961, March is Youth Art Month. Events during the month feature visual art in public education by showcasing students’ work. 

This year, the Anchorage School District teamed up with the municipality and the Anchorage Downtown Partnership to keep some art on display beyond the month of March. Students created art on 10 metal trash cans that will be placed around downtown Anchorage after the month-long exhibition is finished.

The theme of this year’s Youth Art Month is diversity.

“Our young people in our community are part of the diversity of our community,” said George Martinez, special assistant to the mayor. “They represent all sorts of different nationalities and destinations where their parents came to make this home, and so giving them the opportunity to explore creatively into the word of diversity and the different ways that it could be reflected in our community is one of the powerful attributes of this particular themed year.”

School district officials say having work displayed publicly empowers students.

“I’ve always advocated for more public displays of artwork, whether it be on a school or more out in the community,” said ASD fine arts coordinator Leah Maltbie. “The fact that the students’ art will be downtown every day for the public to see, it’s powerful.”

The month-long display begins Friday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at Anchorage City Hall, the Midtown Mall, Loussac Library and Eagle River Library.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misnamed Leah Maltbie as Leah Martinez. She was also listed as the fine arts director.

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