If you have ever been to the lower level of the Courthouse you have probably noticed the drab, institutional white walls lining the long corridors. Well, things are starting to look a little brighter now. Recently, the County’s Halls of Art Committee was reconvened; and they are on a mission – adding color and character to the interior of the Courthouse.
“After a short walk around the Courthouse, the committee agreed we needed to do something about the lack of color on the lower level”, said Carol Seeger, Chairman of Halls of Art Committee. “After some thought and discussion, the committee felt any art projects downstairs would be best served if youth from the Campbell County Juvenile Probation and Juvenile Diversion programs were included”, continued Seeger. Thus began the idea for the mural which now graces the halls downstairs.
Both Juvenile Diversion and Juvenile Probation are programs designed to address and reduce reoccurrence of criminal offenses committed by youth. “The Juvenile Diversion Program is a voluntary program offered to youth between the ages of 12-17, who are first time criminal offenders. The Juvenile Diversion Program uses mentoring techniques with positive adult role models as a base for the program and encourages youth to become involved in pro-social community service projects”, explains Juvenile Diversion Program Supervisor, Erica Wood.
The idea was to couple youth from the aforementioned programs with local artists in a manner that would develop the creativity of the youth and to offer them an opportunity to have a positive impact in their community. This idea was the basis for a strong collaboration between youth, local artists Christopher Amend and Karen Jenson, program staff and the Halls of Art Committee. The result of this collaboration was the dynamic Fire and Ice mural.
Karen Jenson, local artist who assisted with the project describes the process. “We began with sketches contributed by each of us. As we shared our ideas, it became clear we all seemed to agree that the center of the picture should contain a round shape. Every idea seemed to have a common theme – this circle should somehow represent the whole. Maybe it was an earth, a crystal ball, a yin yang, or an empty space. Finally, we arrived at the image of the brain as a starting and central point; a source of imagination. Then we began to think about balance, both visually and conceptually. We discussed the idea of good and evil and the use of elements – wind, rain, fire, and earth. The images that arose were mostly magical; wizards, witches, clowns, giant octopi, demons, and, finally dragons. We chose to use fire and ice – warm colors on one side and cool on the other – coming together to give a sense of unity in the middle.”
“The next time you are in the area, we invite you to stop in to view the mural and to ponder your interpretation of balance”, offers Kendra Como, Halls of Art Committee member.