Photo credit: Todd Bates
January and the beginning of February wrapped up my time with Justice Studio. Justice Studio is a branch of Nomad Art Bus, not-for-profit, that works with jailed youth, designing and implementing mural art in the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center. Justice Studio was created by Carrie Boucher and KD Rodriguez. They invite and pay other artists to come into the Detention Center to do murals with the children.
Without getting all mushy and crying… this has been the most meaningful and inspiring project to be involved with. My part was working with kids individually and as a group doing drawings and spontaneous projects/art to get ideas for what we wanted our mural to look like. After each student came up with a symbol that they thought defined them in a positive way, we mapped out the mural and commenced to learning how to spray paint. Spray paint is magical to me. It’s fast. It’s colorful. It also comes with some obvious dangers. I taught proper protection–wearing a respirator, wearing gloves and wearing safety glasses.
Many people donated money to buy the spray paint and The Camden Pier District donated the respirators. We can’t really do projects like this without a community effort. My hope and the hope of the Justice Studio is to get kids involved in art–as therapy and as a reason for positive change. We thank everyone who donated to make this mural possible. Thank you.
The beautiful thing, to me… as kids come and go in the Detention Center–they will see this mural and future murals–that I am hoping will remind them of what it’s like to be a child and the happiness that bright colors bring. I think about the students I met and every day I think a positive thought for them. My part was small in the grand scheme of things but I can’t help but feel overjoyed about being able to be a part of this project.
If you would like to donate to aid Nomad Art Bus and Justice Studio–please reach out HERE.
And if you would like to learn more about Nomad, check out THIS VIDEO!