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At-Risk Youth Display Their Art at Triton

At-Risk Youth Display Their Art at Triton

Wall to wall works of art line the Triton Museum of Art’s Cowell Room, but the exhibition isn’t for an up-and-coming or well-established Bay Area artist. It isn’t even for San Jose State, Mission College or Santa Clara University, although SJSU’s MFA candidates do currently have a show. This particular exhibition is of artists in the ArtsConnect program of Santa Clara County.

According to the Arts Council of Silicon Valley’s website, “Participants are teens, ages 13-18, who attend an alternative school. The alternative schools provide educational programs for students who are under court supervision or who are not attending regular school for a variety of reasons. Most are from very low-income situations. Most have performed poorly in traditional school and have failed or dropped out. Many have engaged in criminal activity. Many no longer live with their families.”

“ArtsConnect gives these teens the rare opportunity of working with a professional artist and learning to tap into their own creativity. The professional artists are screened, selected, and trained by the Arts Council; and placed in various school sites administered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education…At the end of the school year, an exhibit of students’ work are mounted at prestigious local museums – a rare privilege, which even professional artists struggle to achieve.”

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This year’s “Exploring Perspectives” exhibition invited students from the participating schools: Muriel Wright; Snell, Edge, and Odyssey Community Schools; Blue Ridge and Alternative Placement Academy High Schools; and Osborne at Juvenile Hall to create drawings, paintings and sculpture.

Eighteen flower paintings are included in Osborne School’s “Beautiful Flowers” showcase while 23 skylines are part of Osborne’s “Buildings in the Sky” collection and 24 abstract paintings are in Osborne’s “Hillside” display.

Some students created totems and “painted healing sticks.” Others painted what they saw as their personal logo, and another group of students experimented with pen instead of paint by creating “zentangle pen drawings.” The final products are bright, bold statements with splashes of color and creativity strewn throughout.

“Exploring Perspectives” is on display at the Triton Museum of Art through June 5. For information on the Arts Council of Silicon Valley visit www.artscouncil.org. For information on the Triton visit www.tritonmuseum.org.

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