More Than Art
Adolescence is a difficult time for most of us. Teenagers struggle to fit in, stand out and define themselves. This time period is even more difficult for adolescents who become involved with the court system, either spending time in juvenile detention or incarceration facilities. The Children’s Aid Society’s juvenile justice programming is designed to give these teenagers the skills and unwavering support they need to make better choices in all areas of their lives. This multi-faceted effort is called Lasting Investments in Neighborhood Connections (LINC) and it focuses on connecting youth re-entering their communities (after being incarcerated) with adults who will positively influence their lives.
Since 2008, Artistic Noise, an arts entrepreneurship program for youth involved in the juvenile justice system, has partnered with LINC to offer arts programming to participants in Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem. This partnership provides a safe space for youth to process and document their lives using visual arts while learning valuable life and job skills. Their artwork explores issues that range from self-identity to incarceration.
“Artistic Noise is about
devotion, determination, meditation and unfinished business.
Inside and outside, the worlds connect.
The spirit is open-minded with a diverse perspective.
The picture of me is bigger than words.
What we see and what reflects us- that’s what we are,
that’s what makes our art.”
The program participants were not only artists and curators of the exhibit but they were also the event hosts and business professionals responsible for selling merchandise and greeting their guests. With support and encouragement teenagers can transform from youth at risk of lagging behind their peers emotionally, socially and academically to future business leaders and creative artists.