CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Summer is a time for fun, sun and a cool Teen Arts Intensive program the Arts Clayton Gallery.

Kids ages 13 to 18 are getting some intense training in the program, which includes hands-on instruction in visual arts, music, theater, creative writing and film.

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“All of it is just intense training in that specific genre for four weeks to culminate into a final production, exhibition and film screening,” said Arts Clayton Executive Director Brian Hebert.

A 17-year-old homeschooled student who goes by Miss Ji is an artist and entrepreneur. She wears a mask to hide her identity until she does an artist reveal, but she wants to do a few more paintings first. She says this program is just what she needs to pursue her passion.

“I use artwork to attack mental illness and mental disorders that people aren’t aware of,” said Miss Ji. “I came out the womb with a paintbrush in my hand. I’ve been an artist all my life.”

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The program is a new version of the one Hebert ran at the Southwest Arts Center for 17 years. “This is our pilot. We just wanted to get and help as many teens in the arts as possible,” he said.

It’s also a much-needed outlet for the teenagers. “They need something rather than being on the streets, rather than having too much idle time, they’re getting into their craft and learning,” Hebert said, sharing how art enriches the community.

“The arts saved my life, so if we can help save some lives with art, hey, we want to do our part with that,” said Hebert.

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The Teen Arts Intensive is still welcoming students, but this year’s program ends on July 29, 2022. For information, click here.