GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) -- Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars are using art every day to express themselves in new ways.

"For me, art means communication," explained Nursa, a scholar at Ottawa Hills High School. "I came here and didn't know English. When my art teacher showed me the art class, I was like yeah that's me, I'm going to do that. It was a way of communication since the beginning."

"We believe that art is part of pursuing your purpose and passion," said Stephen Smith, an art teacher at Ottawa Hills High School. "Through art you get to say things that you might not get to articulate using words."

The Grand Rapids Public Schools Foundation helps provide funding for fine arts programming at GRPS.

"If we don't have the support from the district and from our community members, we just won't thrive. The students' worldviews will get very narrow," said Jennifer Sharp, an art teacher at Ottawa Hills High School. "What we are trying to do is broaden their exposure to all kinds of things that they wouldn't have the opportunity to do."

"We want students to know that it's possible to make a living through art," Smith added. "Community showing up to events, by buying art, it helps the students see that it is something they can actually do."

For Nursa, having the ability to express herself through art helps her succeed throughout her school day.

"After art class I have chemistry and geometry, it puts me in a good mood and less nervous for those classes," she said. "Art was always my dream."