Youth Leadership for Success

As part of the Youth Leadership for Success (YLS) Inititiave, several young emerging artists have held their own art exhibition at First Fridays Artswalk in downtown Pittsfield.



Common Folk Artists Gallery, 73 Main St, North Adams MA


‘Elemental’ showcases a diverse body of acrylic and watercolor paintings and digital art, connected by the process of using art as therapy. The Elements of Step Up are based in nature – releasing negative emotions through Fire, balancing emotions by grounding to the Earth, calming and cooling through Water, and accessing wisdom and whimsy through Air and Wind.

The artists hope to convey how art is its own universe, malleable and changing as we change. Art has the power to humble us or make us feel like gods. Art materials stretch us beyond reality while nature’s elements offer insight into our personalities and relationships.



“War Heroes”
Aidan Spaniol at NUarts, 311 North St, Pittsfield

NUarts presents the first solo exhibition of youth artist, Aidan Spaniol during First Fridays Artswalk on September 6, 2019, opening reception from 5-8 pm in the gallery. “War Heroes” features a vast collection of hundreds of original comic drawings on paper, created over a several year period since his childhood. The drawings are inspired by franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, D.C., Dragon Ball, Black Clover and One Piece. Also on display are three Lego sculptures which are the blueprints for Aidan’s comics.

Aidan Spaniol is a fifteen year old comics and graphic artist from Pittsfield, MA. In 2019, he began adding color and size to his comic book characters whose storylines usually involve friends fighting a common enemy to protect what they love. The artist is also exploring acrylic painting using thick brush strokes and a palette of dark and vivid colors like Van Gogh.




On April 5, 2019, First Fridays Artswalk featured the debut art exhibition of 16 year old artist and illustrator, Rachael Bentz. The opening reception for ‘Myth and Nature’ was held from 5-8 pm, and the show is on view through May 30. Myth and Nature features 18 figurative works on paper in alcohol-based marker, colored pencil and watercolor, as well as original digital art. Each piece embodies a narrative myth about the feminine power of the natural world, inspired by emotions and nature expressed in the female form.



Rachael Bentz is a self taught artist and performing musician from Pittsfield. Her art and song were recently featured at the “Love Yourself” event at the Colonial Theatre in February. While this is her first exhibition, drawing and painting have always been her passion, as she plans to attend art school and pursue art as a career. See:



On March 1, 2019 First Fridays Artswalk and Unitarian Universalist Church featured the debut art show of 16 year old artist, Breanna Lytle. ‘Birdie’ featured brand new abstract works on paper and canvas.



The artist described her spontaneous pour method as “putting my emotions and colors into a cup”, in the Feb 10 premiere of the documentary ‘Messages of Hope’ at the Colonial Theatre, where all of Breanna’s works on view have been sold. Proceeds of art sales support the artist in her aspirations with youth leadership in the arts. See: