Today I walked over to the Moakley Courthouse on Boston Harbor to see an art exhibit that the Actors’ Shakespeare Project put together with youth in detention. It consisted of large photographs in which a young person, sometimes in costume, acted out a word from Shakespeare. I did not feel that the presentation in the low-ceiling hallway did the works justice — and having to go through metal detectors to look at them is a bit of a downer — but the concept is positive.
Deborah Becker of WBUR reported that the photographs were part of a larger effort to turn young offenders around with the help of art: “Using the arts as a way to heal and transform is the theme of an exhibit at Boston’s federal courthouse. The artists are children who have been involved with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS), the agency that handles youngsters charged with crimes.
“At a recent reception of the artists and DYS officials, 17-year-old Ricky Brown was among the young people proudly describing his work. He helped paint a mural that covers the entire wall of a DYS district office in Springfield. He says it sends a message about kids in the juvenile justice system.
“It brightens up the whole building,” Brown said. “It makes sure to say that we’re not only there to get locked up. It’s there to let people know that we do work together, we do do something positive.”