“The Community Culture Care Mural has taught me that the things I do can count for something.” ~ Makayla
“The mural helped show that we can contribute to society positively and that we’re not all that bad of kids.” ~ Devon
“This mural is the first time I’ve painted in my life and I loved it.” ~ Scott
“Creating this mural makes me wonder, what other great things can I create? It helped me get my mind off other things that are going on in my life and focus on what I can do in my community. I can honestly say I am very proud of myself for helping complete something important. It makes me feel like I finally succeeded at something.” ~ Brittney
These are just a few of the young artist’s comments shared yesterday during a touching ceremony dedicating an art piece at the 58th District Court in Holland. Judge Susan Jonas saw the walls of the Courthouse as a blank canvas. She also saw the artistic potential in the residents of the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center. Over 100 youth in the center worked with Ottawa Area Intermediate School District art teacher, Angie Briggs-Johnson, to create three murals depicting parts of the Holland community which were meaningful to them. What resulted was a powerful display which captured the youths’ views of their community and their places in it. They also embraced societal ideals including diversity, tolerance and a sense of belonging. A special thanks to those who work with these youth in Ottawa County. You see the gifts and talents court involved youth have to offer every day. You don’t give up.