Youth Mural Fills Halls of Justice with Hope

On May 4 at 4:30PM there will be a ceremony to dedicate the artwork in the Holland Courthouse at 85 West 8th Street.

The halls of justice were missing something. The walls of the Holland District Court building stood sturdy and solid but lacked ornamentation. To Judge Susan Jonas, the walls of the 58th District Court were a blank canvas. She also saw the artistic potential in the residents in the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center and challenged them to create a display for the Holland Courthouse. Over 100 youth from the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center worked with Ottawa Area Intermediate School District art teacher, Angie Briggs-Johnson, to create three murals depicting parts of the Holland community which are meaningful to them. What resulted was a powerful mural that captured the youths’ views of their community and their places in it. The murals also embraced societal ideals including diversity, tolerance and a sense of belonging.

The Detention Center residents who participated in this project took great pride in their contribution. While a resident was painting one of the murals, she was asked what made this project special. She responded that it represented that someone “out there” believed in her abilities and didn’t just focus on the mistakes of her past. These sentiments were echoed by many of the youth. Those who work with these youth in Ottawa County see the gifts and talents court involved youth have to offer every day.

Beginning April 25, the courts in Ottawa County Courts will be celebrating Law Week. The culmination of the Law Week celebration will be on May 4 at 4:30PM with a ceremony to dedicate this artwork erected in the Holland Courthouse at 85 West 8th Street. This art dedication is open to the public, and the building will be open for public observation of the artwork at 4:00.   More information about other Law Week events.




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