Work on Juvenile Hall Mural is complete
Artist at Work on Juvenile Hall Mural
Artist Danza Davis and several incarcerated youth have completed work on a mural located within the interior courtyard of Juvenile Hall on Low Gap Road in Ukiah. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (ojjdp.gov), arts engagement has been proven to reduce recidivism, with therapeutic effects for traumatized, at-risk, justice-system-involved youth.
The Juvenile Hall mural is 29.5 feet long and 9.5 feet high and features typical summer habitats in Northern, Inland Mendocino County, including oak and fir tree habitats and an open meadow vista. Animals include well-known elk, bear, lizard, jackrabbit, turkey vultures, monarch and swallowtail butterflies, and the lesser-known fisher-martin and Northern flicker. The mural features many iconic local plants, including the California poppy, native lupines, soap root and even poison oak. Juvenile Hall youth were engaged in selecting and describing features of the landscape that evoked “home” for them as providing more of a “home environment feel” at the facility was one of the project objectives from the viewpoint of hall administration and staff. The other primary objective was to provide job and employment-related skills. With the creative economy accounting for 1.6 million jobs in the State of California, exposure to the arts can inspire a diversity of future career paths. (otis.edu)
One challenge of the project was to engage a population subject to a high level of turnover. To address this challenge, the artist was given a blank journal donated by Mendocino Book Company. The blank journal now contains entries by students and the artist documenting the mural’s progress. Incoming teens are able to quickly understand the project’s history and outgoing youth are able to reflect on their own participation on the mural within the pages of the journal. Doug Carver, Assistant Chief Probation Officer, notes: “The project really engaged the youth and energized them. It gave them a real practical application of pro-social expression skills.”
The Juvenile Hall mural is a partnership of the Arts Council of Mendocino County and the Juvenile Hall. Funding to pay the artist comes from the Arts Council of Mendocino County’s Get Arts in the Schools Program with special support from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. Supplies for this mural are provided by the Hall.