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Artist uses painting to help push the importance of reading

Posted: 2:03 PM, Jan 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-23 19:15:24Z
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BALTIMORE — With paint as his weapon, Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen is trying to fight for Baltimore children and give them more opportunities to read and learn.

Schlossberg-Cohen is an artist that has teamed up with the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Medicine to explore reading's impact on the brain.

“We are the most visual generations ever, so both reading and art are very powerful tools for expanding the brain, creating new visioning, thinking, health, and reducing stress," Schlossberg-Cohen said.

Their study involves students from Callaway Elementary, a title one school in Park Heights.

"We are studying the brain and all of its biological components, as well as philosophical and artistic," he added.

The project is called "Reading on the Brain", and recently he has been working with the students trying to show the importance of reading with family. According to researchers on his team, if parents aren't reading to their children by the age of two, they are already behind.

Schlossberg-Cohen is working with the kids to create murals for their school. The students had to read, write, and then combine their thoughts on reading into a collage for Schlossberg-Cohen to bring to life in the form of a mural.

“The art is extraordinary, the kids learn and draw and paint and do things they have never done before. And that is also exciting to see in front of you, not whats unfolding, but the self confidence because if they can do that, they can do anything,” Schlossberg-Cohen said.

On Wednesday, Schlossberg-Cohen was at Callaway Elementary School while WMAR-2 News delivered books to its students. Each student got to take home three books as part of the Scripps Howard Foundation's "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign. The money raised by WMAR-2 News employees went to buy 1,339 books.

Click below to see more pictures of the book giveaway!

Schlossberg-Cohen says involvement like this is what underprivileged communities really need.

“Everybody should be involved. I know we all have lives and for most of us it is hard enough just having to live everyday with our families, paying bills, politics, all the stuff in the world, however, if each of us picked one thing and did something with that one thing, the world would shift dramatically and it’s needed,” Schlossberg-Cohen explained.

Over the next three years, Schlossberg-Cohen will be painting multiple murals inside and outside Callaway Elementary as a visual reminder of reading, hard work, and community.