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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