The inaugural Alton Youth Art Festival is being held at Alton Square Mall this weekend.  Young artists from Gilson Brown and Lovejoy schools in the Alton School District will be featured at this event, which is meant to not only showcase their talents, but to raise awareness of the need for community involvement in furthering art education.

Art programs have suffered statewide as school districts struggle to meet budget demands with shrinking funding coming from the state.  Eric Stauffer, owner of Dark Horse Art Works in Alton, says it is important to give students an outlet for their artistic side.

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You can help by donating new or gently-used art supplies at the mall this weekend.  The art festival also features music by the Alton Youth Symphony Saturday at 2pm, and awards will be announced at 2pm Sunday.  The three first place winners will have their art displayed in the Eagle’s Nest play area at the mall for a month. 

(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com )