The optimism of brotherhood and the creativity of children have come together in a new art exhibit at the Shubert Theater.

The exhibit, called “Reflections: A Celebration of Black History,” features the work of students from Betsy Ross Arts Magnet Middle School. Starting today and running until the end of February, the exhibit at the CAPA Community Gallery at the Shubert Theater includes paintings, a totem and weavings. The Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts, or CAPA, is the nonprofit management company that runs the Shubert.

Sylvia Petriccione, artistic director of the middle school, said the inspiration for the theme of the exhibit is the upcoming Black History Month.

“We wanted to do something not only about black history, but about brotherhood,” she said. “We were thinking about it in a different way, such as honoring famous African-Americans through portraits.”

The show includes the work of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from the school. Some of the works honored family members, such as black cardboard books with pictures of students’ older relatives. Other works demonstrated brotherhood in broader terms, including a large totem demonstrating the achievements of African-Americans. The totem was the combined effort of an entire class at Betsy Ross.

This latest exhibit is part of a series of shows featuring younger artists from local schools. The series began in the 2001-2002 season after the theater closed its boutique and opened a gallery instead.

Ruth Feldman, director of education and community outreach at the Shubert, said the program began with the hope of providing opportunities to the community.

“Since CAPA has a commitment to youth, we decided that would be a target source of artwork,”ÊFeldman said. “For the kids, there really isn’t any place except for the walls in their school to display their work. This gives kids the opportunity to say that their work was displayed in a professional setting.”

Peggy Moore, principal of Betsy Ross agreed that the exhibit was a good opportunity for her students.

“It’s wonderful for the school and for the students,” she said. “It encourages them and shows them that what they do is important.”

The gallery allows the schools to become curators of the exhibit, and gives them approximately two months to display art free of charge.

Petriccione said that while the children are very excited about the exhibit, they have worked on many community art projects in the past.

“They’re getting to be old pros at this,” she said. “But many of them still feel quite honored.”

Feldman said that the results of the exhibits have been positive thus far, mentioning that the exhibit brought one student a potential buyer.

“Almost without exception the work has been really fabulous,” she said.

The opening of the exhibit will correspond with the opening night performance of Cirque Eloize’s Nomade at the theater. The exhibit will be open to the public through the end of February, during Shubert performances and on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.