KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — During this year’s Youth Violence Prevention Week, one Knoxville nonprofit is working to help young people in the community turn away from violence by turning toward a canvas.

“Canvas Can Do Miracles” offers free art classes to adults and at-risk and disadvantaged youth, as well as other Knoxville residents. Their programs have an 88% success rate in re-directing lives toward higher education, salvation, employment, and volunteerism.

The organization’s Founder and Director, Jackie Holloway, spoke about how she has seen her program make a difference over the years.

“Even though we’re still seeing violence in our community there is a component that I believe that can work with the youth to free them from many violent scenarios,” said Holloway. “That is art and art can be therapeutic.”

One way people can help Canvas Can Do Miracles’ cause is through an event on Wednesday, April 26 as they host a Youth Violence Prevention Week Art Competition titled ‘You Are The Change.’ It aims to directly impact Knoxville children and encourage them to regain self-control.

The art competition will be held at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center located at 1927 Dandridge Ave in Knoxville from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. While they are not accepting submissions any longer, this is a chance for the community to see the artwork. A $10 donation is suggested and will go toward helping find Canvas Can Do Miracles a new permanent home.

Flyer for the 2023 ‘You Are The Change’ art competition with Canvas Can Do Miracles.

It’s also important to note Holloway is also part of 100Knoxville’s Spring 2023 cohort, a program that matches five Black business owners in Knoxville with a mentor for a five-week program. Bank of America sponsored the Spring 2023 cohort.

Lina Kornmeyer Evans with Bank of America also spoke about the need to help the young people in the Knoxville Community.

“I don’t think enough attention is being brought to the dangers of youth violence, daily violence, and all of those kinds of things,” Kornmeyer Evans said. “It’s really important to support the next generation, give them all of the tools that they need to be healthy, and safe, and secure.”

WATE 6 On Your Side News also reached out to Knoxville Police about Youth Violence Prevention Week and the issues that persist in the area. While KPD may have recently released its first quarter numbers for 2023, WATE is told it did not have readily available data regarding the number of crimes involving youth. However, none of the seven murder victims in 2023 thus far have been younger than 21 years old.

As for a comment on behalf of the KPD, Spokesperson Scott Erland sent the following statement:

“Preventing violent crime is and will always be job number one for our organization. The City’s partnership with the University of Maryland’s Violence Reduction Center exemplifies the City and KPD’s commitment to the mission of minimizing the threat of violent crime in the community. That partnership is well underway and will ultimately cultivate evidence-based, community-involved initiatives to reduce violent crime in meaningful, sustainable ways.”