ARTreach asked Fala Creative's Fatima Donaldson to provide a three-day workshop at the Fort Bend Juvenile Detention Center in July as part of their Mentoring Through Arts program. The first two days with six detainees focused on teaching photography composition, camera techniques as well as leveraging the analogies of photography and life - where do you place the focus, identify the positive and the negative, compose your vision and many more. With only a total of six hours in those two days, the young ladies captured the positives and negatives of their experience. Sometimes not able to communicate their feelings, the camera became their voice and opportunity to express such things. The third day was preparing for an exhibit where fellow detention center employees attended and each detainee spoke about what their images represented. The workshop titled "A Port in the Storm" was designed for the detainees to focus on their situation and view the detention center as a port in their storm. What direction they choose to take leaving the port is up to them. However, I'm confident they leave having gained an added skill that will help them create better images (both literal and figurative) in their lives.
Funding provided by Texas Commission on the Arts and local businesses such as Spa at Cinco Ranch.
About ARTreach and this Program
Special programs help children in the Fort Bend Juvenile Detention Center
"The day I fell"- this is prison slang for “The day I was arrested”
Being arrested is a very bad fall for a child between the ages of 10-17 in Fort Bend County. Once a child falls, the question remains: Can this child stand back up?
In Fort Bend County, a child who is arrested is taken to the Fort Bend County Juvenile Detention Center in Richmond, Texas. Here you will discover many people involved in our Juvenile Justice system that are paying attention to this question and working with the community to reach out and help children stand up after they fall. If detention is considered punishment, can we as a society also consider time in the “lock up” as educational, inspirational, and motivating? Juvenile Detention is not supposed to be a child’s training program for adult incarceration. In Fort Bend County, the JDC is often a fallen child’s safest place to land. Like a port in the storm, time here can be well spent.
n. pl. Port - A port where ships dock in the course of voyages to load or unload cargo, obtain supplies, or undergo repairs.
A child’s life and future can turn on a dime. If they survive the storm, they can recognize the obstacles in their path, they can change course. During the time a child is in a juvenile detention center, it is important they meet positive people, and are introduced to new opportunities to discover something great and positive about their lives and their futures. They need to be inspired to change course. How does a child learn that they have the power to create their future? How can they be shown they have control, and can blaze a trail that leads to their successful future in our society today?
The Fort Bend County JDC is bringing unique, innovative and eye opening programs to our children at highest risk of failing in our society. And the special programs at Fort Bend JDC are turning lives around and helping the children who fall, to get up - stronger and better prepared to face life’s challenges.
ARTreach, Fort Bend JDC and Fort Bend Partnerships for Youth will be collaborating on grant writing and fundraising to raise the $8,640 needed to cover annual program expenses. An exhibition of the photographic images captured by the youth in detention will open September 30th at FALA Creative Gallery and Studios located the Great SW Equestrian Center in Cinco Ranch, 2501 S. Mason Road Ste 263 Katy Texas 77450. Donations to support ARTreach Programs serving juveniles in detention are being requested now. Volunteers and professional artists who wish to help may contact Terri Bieber at email@example.com or contact Mary Gready firstname.lastname@example.org, Director of Special Programs at Fort Bend Juvenile Detention Center to discover additional ways you can become involved.