#ArtisticNoise: How Incarcerated Youth Are Making Their Voices Heard Through Art

At Artistic Noise, young people in the justice system explore their creative potential and inherent power. Dress of Dreams, Spectrum Detention, By Ana, Carmane, Felinesse, Jennifer, Kaillee, Kendall, Rosie, and Victoria.

At Artistic Noise, young people in the justice system explore their creative potential and inherent power. Dress of Dreams, Spectrum Detention, By Ana, Carmane, Felinesse, Jennifer, Kaillee, Kendall, Rosie, and Victoria.

In 2001, artist Lauren Adelman and juvenile defender Francine Sherman began offering art workshops to girls incarcerated at the Spectrum Detainment Center in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The goal was to empower these young women, so often unseen and unheard, through creative expression. 

Fifteen years later, this workshop has blossomed into what’s now known as Artistic Noise, a program designed to bring visual arts practice and entrepreneurial skills to young people who are incarcerated, on probation, or somehow involved in the justice system. An exhibition entitled “Infinite Revolution,” on view this summer, will celebrate the immense artistic talent of the individuals involved in the Artistic Noise community, and their bold spirits that refuse to be muffled. 

“So much of what we do and what we’re focused on is give kids who are often silent a way to have their voices heard and their stories told,” Adelman explained to The Huffington Post. “Whether they are physically removed from society or just don’t feel like they have a voice, through art they are making this visual noise.”

Since its inception, Artistic Noise has expanded to instruct both boys and girls in New York as well as Boston, using four distinct elements of programming embedded within the Artistic Noise umbrella. There are studio art workshops, in which young people in lock-up are engaged in long term artistic projects using unorthodox materials and techniques, often revolving around a single theme relevant to their lives. There are art therapy workshops, in which certified Art Therapists work with youth on probation in both individual and group settings, using creative expression to coax buried feelings and thoughts into the open under professional supervision. 

Detention was horrible,“ one artist explained in a video compilation made by Artistic Noise. “The food was horrible. Being in there, you’re like an animal caged in all day. You just get everything taken away. The only thing that kept me going was when Artistic Noise came in. That was the only thing I looked forward to doing.”

Click here for the full article on Huffington Post.