This letter first appeared in the Vail Daily on July 23, 2020.
Mountain Youth, Red Ribbon Project and Valley’s Voice would like to express their sincere appreciation to the community for the tremendous support at our recent event: The He(art) of the Valley’s Youth, which took place on July 12 at Nottingham Park. This inaugural youth art event was part virtual, part in-person and 100% for the healing of the whole body. The day consisted of morning virtual aspects that included prerecorded videos of young people’s performance work — music, dance, theatre, creativity in motion. The afternoon consisted of a livestream (via Zoom) of the in-person activities, which included a visual arts showcase/display, and speakers, who focus on the therapy of creativity.
Through your efforts and those of other individuals and corporations in the community, we were able to celebrate local youth artists and support them with a speaker’s series related to “Anxiety, Depression & Coping” during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Mountain Youth, Red Ribbon Project and Valley’s Voice believe in the importance of creative outlets and the power of the arts in battling mental health stigmas. During the quarantine of COVID-19, many young people and adults alike turned to creative outlets in order to stay sane. This unique event showcased some of the visual and performance artwork that young artists have created in the past few months or earlier.
The He(art) of the Valley’s Youth was an overwhelming success showcasing the multi-faceted youth artists of the valley and our own two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Empowering youth to overcome mental health stigmas through creative outlets is considered one of the great success events during this pandemic and beyond.
Specifically, we would like to thank our sponsors: Daniels Fund, The Colorado Trust, Will Comerford of State Farm, Slifer, Smith & Frampton Real Estate, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Alpine Bank, Communities that Care, Town of Avon, Village Bagel and Kaleidoscope. In addition, we are so grateful for our speakers and the very important messages that they shared with the community related to their struggles with mental health: Sam Litt and Kaselynn Komives with SpeakUp ReachOut, Gerry Lopez of EVBH, Susanne Graf of Vail Mind Center, Sonia Mejia of Hearts Reign, Lauren Merrill of Alpine Arts Center, Drake Brown of EVHS and two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team.
This truly was a community event — and much-needed networking amongst strong speakers and rising local youth stars. Thank you for helping to make the day possible! The day ran smoothly, and overall the day was a huge success. This event wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of countless people who help prepare ahead of time, work during the event itself, and clean up afterward.