Back in November, I had a conversation with Nick Chung, who works with ADP on Staten Island as well as with the Youth Justice Board, about my hope to liven up the BCS classroom with artwork from ADP participants. Nick encouraged me to make it happen, and we decided to have ADP and YJB participants come together to transform the space where all BCS social service groups take place inside the Bronx Criminal Court.
Nick reached out to Ross Smirnoff, a New York artist who has experience as an art teacher and has worked with organizations such as Groundswell to create murals with teens. Once Ross was on board, Nick and I facilitated workshops with ADP and YJB to learn about murals, and brainstorm ideas for images and messages for the BCS mural.
Workshop participants were drawn towards imagery that represents the difficult choices teens are faced with, the challenges, pressures, and obstacles to choosing the “right” path, and the hope that teens hold for a bright future. Ross received the ideas of youth participants, taking in their feedback, and on Saturday, April 12th, we finally began painting!The spirit of collaboration that got this project going was well reflected by the painting process, which was fun, energized, and cooperative! Some people even discovered their own hidden talents!The project could not have been a success without the support of Nick Chung and Colin Lentz of Youth Justice Board, Moises Reyes and Justin Briggs of BCS community service, Ross Smirnoff for contributing his artistic talent and skills, and of course the youth participants who took ownership over the project and will leave this artwork as their mark at Bronx Community Solutions!
- Rebecca Stahl, Bronx Community Solutions Youth Justice Social Worker
|The finished product!|