Three senior fine art students spent their time
in prison this summer!
Mahaly Grant, Emily Lowell, and Michael Stingle worked with Professor Leslie Robison and residents at the St. Johns County Youth Detention Center, designing and executing a mural about literacy and forming a reading group with the teen residents.
After several meetings with the residents, Grant, Lowell, and Stingle each designed several mural proposals. The residents chose one of Grant’s designs (above) and the whole group worked together to paint the mural onto a section of wall measuring approximately 13 feet long and 9 feet high.
When asked how working with this group went, Stingle replied that, “It was fun. I think all of the guys will be able to make art more successfully now and they are definitely more interested in art.”
But did the experience affect the Flagler students? Definitely, says the group. Grant adds that, “It was a really humanizing experience to work with the guys because you were able to look past the societal view of them as juvenile delinquents and get to know them personally.”
Professor Robison feels that the caring attitudes of these seniors, the book she chose for the group to read, and the experience of participating in an art project, will positively affect the paths these young men take in the future. “We read Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian not only because it is charming, entertaining, and relevant to these young men’s lives, but also because it demonstrates how art, reading, and education can come together to provide hope for the future,” says Robison.