Allied Art Association has always purposed to make art education opportunities available to the community through a wide range of classes. Children and adult classes are regularly taught in the Gallery. In 2008, Lucy Dole, a Gallery jewelry artist, started a program called Beads Behind Bars in the Benton Franklin Juvenile Detention Center. She teaches beading classes to the eligible youth incarcerated in the Center every Sunday afternoon.
Through the incredible financial support of groups (3RCF, Rotary, Kiwanis, WHWF, Bechtel Women and others) in our community, the program has flourished over the years. We are able to offer good quality and plentiful supplies for the youth to draw from to make their creative artistic wearable works of art.
As the program was taken to various groups in the community that work with at-risk youth, the Art Connection program was born-outside the bars!
A couple of years ago, we were able to start a drawing class in the Detention Center, adding to the creative opportunities for the youth. A few basic drawing supplies are made available to the kids to practice their skills when they get supervised ‘out of cell time’ during the week.
All of our efforts receive the enthusiastic support and encouragement of the Detention Staff. We are told that the youth try to keep their ‘levels’ up with good behavior so they will be eligible to attend classes.
The youth in these programs are given the chance to experience a greater sense of their own value and worth as they are able to see the end result of their good choices in designing their jewelry pieces- and hopefully to value themselves more and want to make better future life choices!