Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Art Museum Showcasing Artwork From Local Students: 'I Didn't Think My Art Would End Up In A Museum'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Remember all of the things you drew as a kid? If you never thought they'd go anywhere, a local high school senior is happy to tell you otherwise as her work just went up in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"I did that drawing in fifth grade," Juanita Evermon Muniz said.

Never in Juanita Evermon Muniz's wildest dreams did she ever imagine her childhood drawing would end up in the world-renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"I feel very blessed," she said. "I feel very emotional because I didn't think my art would end up in a museum."

Juanita is a senior in high school now. She was a George W. Nebinger School art student when she chose Edgar Degas' iconic "Little Dancer" sculpture as the inspiration for her drawing.

"I chose to do the dancer only because felt like I could relate to it because, at the time, I was doing art, I was doing dance and I was doing music as well," Juanita said.

It's now one of eight pieces of art from students within the Philadelphia School District displayed in the cafe of the Art Museum.

Juanita's former art teacher is beaming with pride.

"To nurture them in art, like she's grown up now. She's a senior in high school now and she's still doing art and that really excites me, makes me happy and proud," Leslie Grace, Juanita's art teacher, said.

"It's whimsical, it's joyful, it's the future," said Barbara Chandler Allen, president and founder of the nonprofit Fresh Artists.

For the past 15 years, her organization has helped to fund art supplies for struggling art programs throughout the Philadelphia School District, by turning young artists into philanthropists, commissioning their work for art installations like this.

"We have about 2,300 images donated by children, all from very, very low-income schools and everything from that donation goes back into the schools in the ways of supplies," Chandler Allen said.

Fresh Artists brings access to children and families in underserved communities who may never have had exposure to the art world.

For Juanita, it's become a life changer.

"Everybody's art is great and it means something to them in a different way and you never know what can come out of it," she said.

All of the school district students whose artwork is now featured in the Art Museum installation will get a year's special artist membership to the museum for their families.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.