Artistic Noise is an organization that aims to bring the freedom and power of artistic practice to young people involved in the justice system. Two young people from Artistic Noise presented to the students their work in the community based art therapy project, muralShifts, which is a community based art therapy projects that create artistic support, leadership, and employment opportunities for young people involved in the justice system. The mural installations are a vehicle to break social barriers and build relationships between young people, service agencies, and relevant institutions. “Shift” refers to two aspects: the work shift of the participants in terms of the lack of opportunities, and the shift of the power of representation of young people to young people involved in the justice system. Goals of the muralShifts project consisted of build prosocial trusting relationships, teamwork skills, shift the power of representation, and offer the young people real life opportunities for paid employment, leadership and social service.
The two young people discussed their experiences participating in Good Art: Bad City, a mural installation done by the youth of Artistic Noise. One thing they touched on was the difficulty of collaboration and working with others. Their art was personal to them so letting someone else help with it was nerve wracking because what if they did something wrong or not the way the artist intended. There was a lot that could have happened and asking for help, working with others was not something they were used to. Ultimately, they allowed others to help and began to open up the possibility of a working relationship. Having others constantly around also changed the environment to make it collaborative even when not working with someone at the moment. Just having others in the room affected the mentality and thought processes that went into working on the pieces.
They further commented on how showing their art to the public felt good and something that had not had the chance to do before. It gave the chance to explain exactly what the art meant to them and made them feel like professional artists. To further this, a part of the program was introducing their art to students from the Cooke Academy, a high school for you with developmental disabilities. This experience was described as eye opening and helped them to relate to others in a new way. The young people of Artistic Noise were able to educate the SVA MPS art therapy students on their art and some of those students ended up educated young people. All participants developed new relationships and learned so much from this insightful presentation.