News - 2012(BACK)
Rutgers University Provides Tully House Residents Art Lessons For Life
West Caldwell, NJ May 22 -
The artwork created by nine Tully House residents was a strong statement of reflection and recovery made during a guided visit to the Rutgers University Art Department in May. In a joint effort between Tully House and Rutgers University in Newark, art teachers have volunteered their time to introduce artistic concepts and creative thinking tools to the community corrections residents. Tully House is a 340-bed residential work release center for the New Jersey Department of Corrections located in Newark, New Jersey.
"It is our goal at Tully House to introduce pro-social cultural and recreational activities to compliment the reentry treatment services we offer. We find that these activities help stimulate the creative mind and that helps with recovery and sense of well being," says Ronald Morrison, Deputy Director of Tully House.
Justin Fetridge, Program Counselor at Tully House developed the idea and supervises the groups in an effort to widen the horizons of residents with cultural and educational experiences. The Tully House art projects are now on display at the entrance way to the Paul Robeson Gallery on the Rutgers campus in Newark, NJ.
"The response we get after these trips has been overwhelmingly positive. The residents benefit tremendously, the different experiences promote a new outlook on life and a desire to improve their character and behavior," says Counselor Fetridge.
Joseph Sabatino, Artist Educator for Rutgers University inspired the class as he presented some basic principles of art and design. An interactive session, the project assigned was to make a music CD cover that represents them, working with art supplies donated by the college. Within minutes after entering the studio the room fell quiet as residents industriously worked on their art using different patterns, words, pencils, and cut paper in an effort to create a statement about their experience and dreams for the future.
"You have no idea how good I feel right now," said a resident to Mr. Fetridge as he enjoyed taking part in the creative process.
Each resident carefully tried using different elements and learned new ways to approach their project, proving a successful art lesson as well as a tool for thinking and making positive choices.
"If something doesn't work, don't throw it away. It can be useful in another way, or as a learning experience," said a resident as he proudly displayed his finished work of art.
Previous sessions have produced self-portraits using symbolism, powerful expressions of past regret and a present desire for change.
Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC) is a leading provider of offender reentry and
in-prison treatment services in America, operating in 18 states and the Commonwealth of Bermuda, with over 30,000 individuals in its daily care. CEC provides a full range of therapeutic residential and non-residential reentry services with a documented record of reducing recidivism.