Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Brushworks, Classes Starting in Juvi

Two Emotions: Anger and Peace
(My Example Piece)

A few months back I was encouraged by a dear friend to be as intentional in my observations in Juvi (Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center here in Dallas) as I was in Big Bend when I was there painting. I've been praying about how to communicate about it. My heart is not to exploit these kids in any way. I want very much for the Brushworks class to be a safe place for them and not part of what I'm going to blog about this week. You know what I'm mean? So I'm treading carefully here. I will not be sharing their real names or any pictures of them. I will ask to share some of their artwork with you but only with permission.

The one above is mine. I did it in just a few minutes. I'm trying to show them how to loosen up and start to convey a feeling on canvas quickly. Not trying to paint something really tangible or with words just the way the paint is applied and thought through.

Last week I had 6 boys and 3 girls (all teenagers). It was a crazy class with just an hour and 15 minutes. I launched right into the first project which was to paint the left side of the canvas (first box) with the emotion they picked. They ranged from: Greed, Love, Envy, Anger, Depression, Happiness etc. In my haste to get the materials out and running I didn't go over the RULES of the class. Needless to say I will be going over rules this week... *blush* I am learning too!

In all, I felt that I had a great group of kids. They were interacting with me and were really trying to do the assignment. One boy in particular was hitting the work so well. I told him several times to put his brush down or he was going to overwork the piece. He kept painting and painting and it finally turned to mud. I could sense his frustration but I wanted him to see what happens when you go past the feeling to trying to "fix" it.

We meet in a small room that is designated for art with art materials given through a grant to Juvi. The kids come in with Detention Officers (who are very kind and helpful). I was also honored to have the Director of Volunteers in there with me who was a tremendous help. As they came in to paint I was reminded that these kids have been in trauma for so long that for them to have any space, time or reflection can be very difficult. Not only are they working through the normal adolescent angst and posturing but also the violence and abuse that has been a part of their lives for too long.

I feel very honored to be with these kids and I pray the Brushworks class can be a safe place to create, explore and have some fun. We meet every Thursday night from 6:00 - 7:15 pm.

Please pray for these precious ones. They are the Daughters and Sons of our Community, our city. Many of them haven't had the Mom's and Dad's we have had or a safe place to call home. Pray for God to show His love in real and tangible ways. Pray for me to have a balance between discipline in the class and freedom to explore and thrive.

Big Thank You to ALERT Ministries, particularly, Christina MacKenzie, Director (who has let me do this class in Juvi) and to Cynthia Wallace (Director of Volunteers at Henry Wade) who handles special programs for the kids.

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