In Winter, 2012, Art 433 students had the opportunity to work with incarcerated teenagers at Saginaw Juvenile Detention Center, 3360 Hospital Road in Saginaw.
The SVSU students coached them on their drawing skills, as well as validated the teenagers' imagery by incorporating it with their own. The university students also modeled collaboration, and completion of two significant projects by a deadline.
The class felt comfortable working with the four residents, and hope the residents felt respected by us. Several class members wanted to mentor them, to be friends whom they could talk to, friends with law-abiding lives on track. Several recounted their own teenage experiences when, but for the grace of God (or friends who took the rap for their illegal activities), they might have been arrested and sentenced. One student had been babysitter to one of the residents.
On our final meeting at the Center, we expected be requests for changes or additions to the murals, but the staff and residents completely approved what we'd developed. At that point, the afternoon became a celebration, a friendly get-together of the residents and the SVSU students. Students' phones came out of pockets, where pictures of their paintings for their classes were shown and explained to the residents.
It is hoped that the experience of working with SVSU students to complete two murals that incorporated the residents' drawings, their suggested imagery AND their help with installation gave the residents determination to complete school and enjoy productive, creative, happy lives. May they meet life's responsibilities, savor its joys, and add their accomplishments to the benefit of us all.
—Mike Mosher, from the booklet documenting the murals produced by Akia Bell.
Crystal Porter at the murals' dedication, April 18, 2012.
Students involved were Bethany Ambrose, Akia Bell, Ashley Bostwick, Samuel Dantuma, Jon Elliott, Randi Espinosa, Emily Finta, Kaitlyn Foulk, Kait Heins, Christine Janowiak, Caleb LeClair, Patricia McDonald, Crystal Porter, Ryan Shaffer, Renee Shelton, Garrett Weslock and Arielle Wells.