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Exhibition features art by juveniles facing justice system

Artwork from exhibit
January 23, 2012

“Expressing Human Rights: All People Free & Equal,” an art exhibition presented by the Cultural Arts Coalition, will be on display from Jan. 20 through March 16 in Fletcher Library at Arizona State University’s West campus. “Expressing Human Rights” presents artwork by local artists; youth in detention, in rehabilitation, and on probation; and South Mountain High School students using art as a means to explore and inquire about rights.

ASU’s West campus is at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. The display is available for viewing during regular library hours; there is no admission charge. (Visitor parking on campus costs $2 per hour.)

Four Valley organizations are represented in the exhibition, including “The Thoughtful Warrior” program at the Lower Buckeye and Estrella jails with male and female juveniles. Project Director Melanie Ohm is co-curator of the exhibition along with Judy Butzine from the Cultural Arts Coalition.

Also participating is the “Release the Fear” program for juveniles in Maricopa county detention sites, facilitated by Robert Miley. Two YMCA programs are represented. Las Artes de Maricopa is for disadvantaged youth from age 16 to 21 who are struggling to overcome difficult circumstances, facilitated by Martin Moreno. Artworks also will be displayed from ANYTOWN youth camps’ creative reflection programming, directed by Deanie Wlodek at the Y.

“People may create conditions in their lives that diminish their civil rights, but they still have rights because they are human,” Butzine said. “This exhibition of work by youth and teaching artists challenges us to come to a deeper understanding of the 30 Universal Human Rights as defined by the United Nations, and in particular Article 29, which describes our responsibility to protect the rights and freedoms of all.”

This is the third year the Cultural Arts Coalition has mounted an exhibition at Fletcher Library. “This kind of collaboration and honoring of our youth and the journeys they are on to make well-informed decisions that benefit self and community members could not occur without the support of the Fletcher Library staff,” Butzine said.

“This exhibit is a highlight of the spring semester for the Library and for me personally,” said Dennis Isbell, Fletcher Library’s director. “The artwork and the students from South Mountain High School are always wonderful.”

For more information, contact Butzine at or (602) 375-9553.