Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Art Show at the mARTinez Art Gallery

We had an incredible show at the mARTinez Art Gallery last week.  I am waiting for the professional photos, and I will add them to the slide show soon.  Please sign up as a follower of this blog to get regular updates on the program and upcoming events with The Green Youth Project.

The Green Youth Project was created from a dream to empower children to attain personal growth and visionary thinking through creative self-expression. By using landfill-diverted materials to create constructive activities, this Green-based program teaches creativity in altered and trash art while educating our youth about the importance of environmental awareness

The Green Youth Project believes that everyone has the potential and should have the opportunity to be creative. Collaborative arts help promote a sense of community and build a foundation for stronger self esteem. Every child has creative abilities, which require structured, healthy outlets to express. We maintain that it is essential that ecological responsibility should be shared by everyone on the planet. The youth of today will be the ones to re-create the world of tomorrow by innovating a way to rethink and repurpose useable and sustainable products from things that came before.

This show is a sampling of the artwork being created by the young men in the Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall. Supplies were diverted and donated by The Hall Closet Thrift Store, a non profit that benefits at-risk youth in the community and is run by the Juvenile Hall Auxiliary. None of these artists have any formal art training, they just love to draw. The inspiration and theme of this show is Transformation. All of the artwork represents the transformations happening within them as a result of the rehabilitative program they participate in. Take the time to look closely at the detail in some of the drawings. Many of them are not what they seem at first glance.

Teaching an art class in a maximum security facility has many challenges. For security purposes, we are not allowed to work with many of the art materials a traditional artist would use. The kids have two hours of art class per week, with additional time to work in their rooms on drawings. They are allowed only one pencil in their room at a time, and cannot have items most altered artists take for granted every day, such as hardback books, pastels, paints, chalks or sketch pencils, unless supervised by a teacher in the class environment. I am very proud of the caliber of art that has come from these young men, given the limitations and parameters that would stifle most artists. I applaud their ability to find a way to express themselves within the structure and confines of an incarceration environment. I would like to thank the Contra Costa County Probation Department and their staff, for working with me to insure the success of this program. It takes a lot of dedicated people to insure this all runs safely and smoothly.

We would like to thank the following companies and community members for their generous support of this program:

The mARTinez Art Gallery
Contra Costa County Probation Department
Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall Staff
Juvenile Hall Auxiliary
The Hall Closet Thrift Store
The East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use
Afflare Arts and Custom Framing
Cathy Riggs
Shannon Grossenheider
Alison McKee
RC Ferris
Judi Garcia
Joan Paine
Martinez Kiwanis Club
Main Street Martinez
The Boys and Girls Club of Diablo Valley
Liquitex Paint
Shiva Paintstix
The Bay Area Art Sisters Yahoo Group
Creative Chicks Yahoo Group

The Green Youth Project is always accepting donations for the program. We gladly accept new and used supplies. We are currently in need of the following:

Gesso, gel medium, chalks, pastels, sketch pencils, charcoal pencils, acrylic paints, oil paints, watercolors, pens, paintbrushes, canvas, heavy weight sketch paper, wallpaper, gift wrap, tissue, old jewelry, small picture frames, magazines, scissors, glues, mod podge, crepe paper, sheet music, unused gift cards from Michaels, Aaron Brothers Art Mart, Joann’s Crafts, Dick Blick, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon.

If you are an artist and would like information about volunteering or teaching, please contact Karan Simoni at karansimoni@att.net

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Press Release for Gallery Show

MARTINEZ GALLERY RECEPTION SEPTEMBER 18“Green Youth Project” mini exhibit ,“Altered Art, Altered Lives”.

The Martinez Arts Association once again hosts a mini-show in the mARTinez GALLERY of artwork done by students of the “Green Youth Project”,  a new arts program at Juvenile Hall. Karan Simoni is the Director of the program and is enthusiastic about her students work. Making use of dumpster diverted items to promote self awareness and healing has brought about some positive changes and generated new perspectives in the youth involved in the program.

The exhibit runs from September 14 through the 21st. There will be a reception at the GALLERY on September 18th from 6pm to 9pm.

The Martinez Arts Association has been working in Martinez to enhance the arts in the community for over 40 years. Grants to local schools and scholarships for graduating seniors are made possible by the sales of art in the mARTinez GALLERY.

September 18, 6pm - 9pm
630 Court Street
925 370-6270
Sept 14 -21,
M-F 9-3, Sats. 9-1

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Art Contest

We are hosting an art contest at the hall, the ranch, and the girls center. The winners will receive gift certificates to Barnes and Noble and some cash prizes. I have been working hard to get these kids to submit their work. So many of them are so used to experiencing rejection , that they think it is better not to even try. There are some incredibly talented kids in this class. I have been encouraging them to do their best work, and to let me submit some of it to magazines for publication.

Some of the art will be featured at a gallery show at the Martinez Art Gallery in September. I don't have the date yet, but I will post it as soon as everything is finalized.

Here are some pages from their books. Enjoy

Monday, May 18, 2009

Juvenile Hall Poetry Contest Winners

April was National Poetry Month. Juvenile Hall and the boys ranch had a poetry contest with 46 entries. These are the first, second and third place winners at Juvenile Hall. Congratulations to all the winners, a very talented group of young men.

Caught Up in the Rapture of Literature

I went from surviving the coldest winter ever
to becoming a smart street soldier
I've read books by famous authors like James Patterson
I've read First to Die
now I'm caught in the sequence on 4th of July
Kimani Tru Keysha's drama is like something I went through
who would have thought that a young boy
who wouldn't read unless it had pictures
would become fascinated with Terry Woods' stories
and other inspiring literature
when I read, I learn
what I've achieved I've earned
when I lay on my mat and read from Zane to relax
daydreams come from good scenes
I'm not a photographer
but through a novel, I can picture things
reading is like love, it's good for the soul
when I open up something from Mosley
on an adventure I go
Suzanne, Alison, Nadia and Big Russell
I thank you for keeping the books poppin'
and helping me read 72, not the age
but 72 books, every page
don't judge a book by it's cover,
you gotta read it
and when you finish, on the back there's a picture
you gotta see it


The wind kisses her skin
with goose bumps
streams of waste flow over
in titanic lumps
oceans part in her sight,
when I'm around her
there is no sadness or blight
she is one love that can do no wrong
addictingly backwards and strong
vocal origami when she speaks
her beauty is awing as crystal peaks
precious is an understatement
her eyes will bring you in an entrapment
many reasons will be bought
but it'll be too late, you will be caught
by the time you realize she sucked you dry
one emotion left, and all you do is cry
a demon, she is on your breath
and her name is Crystal Meth
lost and alone
your family disowned
no one can hear your screams
not even you in between those rare dreams
you feed the flame
there is no one to blame
when you realize, like I
you will hope to bow down and die
one way to save your soul
but you have to give up what has your soul
in the end you will be saved
and all the roads will be paved
doors will open up
your family will be back to raise you up
then the courtship you had will be gone
thrown away and begone
happiness can be yours as it is mine
don't falter, and you'll be fine

Dream Place

I would like to go to a land
where crime does not exist
to a place no man has been
event the dumbest things make sense
to achieve a new goal
you first must attempt
to a place where everything is clean
to a hillside full of green
where the snow is pristine
but this place is just my dream
straight to outer space
to a special place
this life is a race
to a new planet as sweet as cake
when I'm asleep, these are my thoughts
a farm with forever growing crops
without being harassed by the cops
where we live on and life never stops