artistic noise: art from the juvenile detention system and beyond

UBUNTU Public Art Project at Boston Trinity Foundation
H.U.M.A.N.'s Public Art Work at the Cloud Foundation

Girls in the juvenile justice system, together with friends, volunteers, and teaching artists, made a large quilt on the theme of UBUNTU, reflecting community and interconnectedness. Over 50 people helped bring this project to fruition-which was donated in June to the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury, MA.

Source material for the quilt derived from drawings and paintings of ancient and contemporary masks and heads, with a specific focus on hair and braiding. Hair braiding is a favorite weekend activity for girls in lockup, and relates to their sense of beauty, sisterhood and friendship. It is also a perfect metaphor for UBUNTU-because it is not only difficult to braid one's own hair, it is not as pleasing or enjoyable. Braiding is also one of the most ancient forms of art.

Grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Commission and Unlocking the Light allowed Artistic Noise to hire DYS girls in the community to work on this project as freelance artists. In this way, the project focused both on developing art skills and on building important life and job skills. The Cloud Foundation, the Boston Trinity Foundation, and the Tobey-Wilhelmsen family generously provided us with the space in which to work.