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Lincoln Elementary School is in its second year of the "Kids Against Violence Art Program."

Is it really necessary to worry about violence affecting kids in elementary school? Artist Elaine S. Harding said, "It happens so early, we couldn't get to them early enough!"The fledgling program is being honored on Thursday, June 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 at a reception and fund-raiser.

Children meet three times weekly with Harding. "They come on their lunch hour, so there's a certain amount of sacrifice on their part. I use a nonviolent curriculum called `Peace Begins with Me,' together with art principles and values. I teach them how to say a message using art. They can get out their fears and frustrations out using art. This is a safe place for them to express themselves," Harding said.

She said that the best thing about the Kids Against Violence Art project is that "it's better to solve a problem through artwork than to take it to the playground or use another means of expression."

Kids Against Violence Art is interwoven with the community. "We've done three or four billboards, and we had a mural on exhibit last year at the Judge Building. The kids worked with a group of architects and designed a bicycle park. These kids need to have a lot of different choices. I've taught them about graphic design artists, and we've been to a bronze foundry. They've seen a broad overview of what artists do and how they contribute to society," Harding said.

The children were the writers, artists and puppeteers for a film about Kids Against Violence Art Program. "They wrote the screenplay using situations they've come up against showing how they solved conflicts," said Harding. "There are five little vignettes - it's a documentary on art advocacy.

"I've really seen some of these kids change," Harding said. "They've changed identity - no longer the class bully but an artist. They've learned to see a little bit of excellence in themselves."

Tuesday's reception begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake Art Center, 20 S. West Temple. The fund-raiser will include the world premiere, at 7:15 p.m., of the film produced by Kids Against Violence, sponsored by Utah Film and Video Center, Art Access/-Very Special Arts Utah and the Utah Arts Festival. The art exhibit will run from June 2-June 28, after which it will be on display at Phantom Gallery.

The reception is free to the public; a donation is suggested for the film premiere, $5 adults, $2 students and children.

For more information call Harding or Sherianne Cotterell, Lincoln Elementary School, 578-8180.