A crowd of children and parents turned out Saturday for the kickoff of the Kids' Talking Wall in the Carson Mall.
Sponsored by Partnership Carson City, the Talking Wall showcases the visual arts and literature of children in the community, giving them a place to express their creativity and feelings, said organizer Carole Thompson.
"We're trying to reach out to the entire community and let them know that here's an opportunity for you to show what you do whether you're a poet or an artist or whatever," she said.
The Carson Mall has donated an entire wall dedicated to the children of the community, and Saturday, the display cases were filled with beautiful artwork, poetry and stories from children at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada.
Each month, a different community organization will be featured on the wall. The changing display will kick off the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Youth will be invited to perform during that time as well. Eventually, the project will expand to allow video expressions, as well.
Thompson said she was influenced by having spent time in the beatnik community with performing artists such as the late Mary Travers from Peter, Paul and Mary fame.
"That was such a great network with so many opportunities to share talents and inspire people to do good things as a community and with each other - and this is a chance to bring everyone into the circle and say, 'Whatcha got?'" Thompson said.
Thompson said she was inspired to create the project after by a child who felt left behind when his sister became addicted to drugs and required all of their mother's attention.
"And then one day, he said something very profound, 'What about me?'" she said.
Grant Davis, now a young teenager, performed a song on stage during the event, later explaining that as he was trying to find a way to cope with his home life, he decided to sign up for a play in Carson City.
"I decided to show other people that you can find good ways to cope, so I'm starting a program, WAM, What About Me?" Davis said.
His 10-year-old niece, Brooklyn Davis, of Sparks, said she was having a lot of fun with all the activities.
"I came with my grandma to listen to my Uncle Grant sing," she said.
Chris Bayer, director of CASA and a popular local musician, called the project a great opportunity.
The Talking Wall "is an opportunity for the community to see and hear the expressions and voices of Carson City's children and youth," Bayer said.
"It's also an opportunity for the community to come together and work together to celebrate the creativity and imagination of kids," he said.
Participating in the opening ceremony were Partnership Carson City Executive Director Kathy Bartosz, District Attorney Neal Rombardo, Sheriff Ken Furlong and Lisa Davis, juvenile services coordinator and DARE officer.
A big hit of the day was "Something Fishy & Fun Kids Should Know About" with animated fish characters Genus, Marley and Morphie who responded to kids questions. The interactive video show was the brainchild of professional animators Gary Jesch and Dana Stamos of Carson City.
Other entertainment included performances by the Wild Horse Children's Theater, ventriloquist Monte Fast with Dennis, Bayer and Mr. Spoons (Steve Suwe), and a Latino Christmas with music and a pinata - broken to symbolize the breaking down of barriers and of silence.