Reflecting on the creativity of youth in DC

Juliene James Former, Senior Policy Associate, Center on Sentencing and Corrections
Jun 17, 2010

Last week, Vera's Washington DC Office had something to celebrate. In partnership with the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) and the District of Columbia's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Vera put on an exhibit of artwork that young people created as part of our Inside Out Loud project. Members of the community attended and enjoyed seeing the ceramics, glass paintings, masks, mosaics, calligraphy, and play synopses that were on display.

Inside Out Loud provided arts workshops to the youth detained in DYRS’s Youth Services Center in December 2009 and again this spring. I was so proud to see the young people’s work displayed so carefully and professionally—the exhibit was truly a culmination of their creativity and hard work. The exhibit also reflects the nationwide trend away from punitive sanctions in juvenile justice and toward alternatives that recognize young people’s strengths, skills, and potential.

I am so pleased that I was able to be involved with Inside Out Loud. Thanks to everyone who participated—DYRS leadership, Youth Services staff, and CHAW teachers and staff, and all who attended—for making this event and the project a success.