Hidden connections: Unique student collaboration reveals powerful perspective

A few years ago, Nia Kitchin went to an art exhibit at Charlottesville High School. She couldn’t help but notice the quality of work by a few non-CHS students, artists who were under the tutelage of her soccer coach, Marcelle VanYahres.
“The work that I saw for the first time, I think, was a really large graphite portrait. The technical skill was amazing, but there was so much emotion behind it,” says Kitchin, now a high school senior.

Those young artists are students at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center, a facility that provides a residence and a structured program for juveniles ages 10 through 17. Though Charlottesville City Schools runs the BRJDC educational programs, the students come from across Central Virginia.