Arts Connect helps young women bond with their community

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Arts Connect is a community-based program for young women involved with the Pierce County Juvenile Court System. The program was created by Hilltop Artists Executive Director Dr. Kimberly F. Keith under the name Remann Hall Women’s Project. Moved from Museum of Glass to Hilltop Artists in 2009 and renamed Arts Connect, the program consists of two quarterly 10-week sessions in glass, ceramics, photography, printmaking, or other art forms. A team of adults, including professional artists, leads these weekly, three-hour classes at community sites, with support from probation officers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and volunteers.

At the beginning of each session, the young women in the program discuss needs in the community – such as hunger, homelessness, and domestic violence – and the local nonprofit organizations that respond to those needs. Through conversation over family-style dinners and while making art, they select an organization to support.

At the end of the session, friends, family, judges, probation officers, and the public are invited to a showcase where the participants exhibit their artwork and share their reflections, personal experience and journeys through art. They also educate the audience about a community issue, which they are empowered to help resolve by selling their artwork with the proceeds going to their chosen organization or by donating what they have made to enliven board rooms, entry halls, or areas where clients gather.

To learn more about this program and its far-reaching impact, visit www.hilltopartists.org/arts-connect. If you are interested in supporting the program, organizers are looking for volunteers to commit to providing meals for each session. For more information and to see other volunteer opportunities, visit www.hilltopartists.org.

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