The young New Yorkers in our latest 8-Week Arts Diversion Program invited guests (including the criminal justice partners involved in their own cases) to their CREATING COMMUNITY exhibition. Guests partook in this playful yet serious public art project designed by the young New Yorkers to build a community where everyone is connected in unity and diversity. Each person built a model of a community structure from tin cans, brilliantly colored paper, and an array of symbols that represented the qualities they wished to bring to the community. Guests then brought their structures to be certified at the “Department of Community,” and filed paperwork to be issued a “Community Creator ID,” complete with a photograph of themselves holding the model and a list of qualities they commit to bring to the community (for example: inclusion, love, strength, and hope). If you filed paperwork for a Community Creator ID, you will receive it in the mail soon!

Portraits by Rodolfo Díaz

Selected portraits of guests wearing props created by YNY graduates and holding and their tin can community structures.

Installation photos by Sina B. Hickey

Guests picked up a tin can from a sculpture spelling out the word HOPE. Each tin can represented a member of the new community—a Neighbor, a Justice Professional, or an Elected Leader.

At shared tables, guests collaborated to create buildings and structures with colors and symbols that represented that they wished to bring to the new community. Participants in the Fall 2016 8-Week Arts Diversion Program, and Graduate Ambassadors from previous programs, joined them.

Everyone added their structures to a shared map, creating a new cityscape built on the strengths that each community member committed to bring to community.

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