Carmel Magazine

CM Winter 2016 Issue

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 81 of 227

Incarcerated Youth Break Down the Walls with Ar t SHORTCUTS GIVING BACK 80 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 6 T his winter, passengers in the Monterey Airport's youth gallery viewed bright, boldly colored paintings of flowers, forests, mountain ranges and Monterey County inspired landscapes. The artists behind the collection were incarcerated adolescents from the Monterey County Youth Center, a residential facility and aftercare program for males ages 13 through 18. Linda Pedrazzini Hevern, who oversees the Arts Council for Monterey County's "Arts as Healing in Juvenile Justice program," encourages Youth Center participants to paint the natural world because they have so little contact with it. "Many of these young men have never seen the ocean, despite its prox- imity. What many see is the violence of their own neighborhoods," she says. "We're working to change the imagery that they carry inside." Through the initiative, working artists teach creative skills that also help young men change their outlook, manage anxiety, communicate more effectively and make better choices. In the process, participants craft paint- ings and murals that have been showcased in six exhibits during the last 13 months alone, including shows at Seaside City Hall's Avery Gallery and the Monterey County Administration Building in Salinas. The National Association of Counties named the program its 2015 Arts and Culture Award winner, calling it "engaging, collaborative and life-changing." "On the street, some participants are enemies. Here, they come together to create these beautiful pieces," says Hevern. The arts initiative teaches participants to turn to a sketchbook rather than drugs or violence, explains Monterey County Youth Center Director Jennifer Butz, as it builds positive connections. "Participants know they have the Arts Council's support if they contin- ue with art. We have had boys leave here and do that," she says. The artwork also reminds locals of the good in these young men, and it reminds participants that they are valued. "It means something to them when community members come in here and work with them," says Butz. "This program gives these boys things that maybe they have never seen before. It gives them the gift of art." —Renee Brincks Patricia Majio (left) is a program teaching partner for the Arts Council for Monterey County's "Arts as Healing in Juvenile Justice" program. (Right) Linda Pedrazzini Hevern is the program director and lead teacher, and introduces art to incarcerated teenage boys. Photo: Kelli Uldall

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Carmel Magazine - CM Winter 2016 Issue