This is an educational and interactive Community
Please feel free to download any information that may benefit a community arts program in your area. We would love your input...


Mission and Goals

Guiding Practices


Peace Event



Click on images to see a larger version.

Pages Created by:
Paul Hillman

03055 hits
since 01/23/2012

Expressing Human Rights: All People Free & Equal~An Exhibition @ ASU West Campus, Fletcher Library, January 20-March 16, 2012

"Expressing Human Rights" exhibition 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.

"As Time Goes By" is an earlier artwork created by Joe Willie Smith that has hung in many a Boys & Girls Club as a means to facilitate conversations concerning human and civil rights amongst the participating youth.

Joe Willie-Smith is currently a multi-media artist, working primarily with found objects. For several years he has focused on 'Urban Fields Studies', constructing works in-situ and leaving them in place as random public art. His artworks hang in galleries and private homes throughout the nation. Joe lives in Phoenix.

One Youth's interpretation of the serigraph:

Reaching Out

Face young, face bold, face looking out.

All day, all night, what's this all about?

Would it have been different

if he had been born White?

Would it have been different

if he'd had some foresight?


help bring this "seeing" about.


develop when one casts aside self-doubt.

So LOOK to those who are willing

to offer their help.

LOOK to those who are reaching

to the child's INNER YELP.

Ricky Abbs, 12 years old

South Mountain High School students' artworks:

Butterflies have the freedom to fly across borders. Why are humans politically restricted from moving from place to place?

Every child has the right to play, live in a safe space and just be a kid...

The participating youth reflected on their personal journey and the journeys of others protecting the Human rights of many...

What rights do we have under our legislative and judicial systems?

How can all of us protect the rights of those raised in poverty and vulnerable neighborhoods through activities of everyday living?

The teachers who guide this conversation and provide the artistic expertise to create this body of incredible artworks...

We are very thankful for their commitment and dedication to this process of critical inquiry and problem solving...

Four Valley organizations are represented in this exhibition, on the second floor 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.

The Thoughtful Warrior curriculum designed in 2008, first piloted in early 2009 and ongoing through the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Lower Buckeye Juvenile Education Section for both males and females. It is directed by Melanie Ohm. "People may create conditions in their lives that diminish their civil rights, but they still have rights because they are human. 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." Ohm


  • a holistic and authentic learning process in which students encounter ideas, events and materials in meaningful contexts with complex, life lessons at the heart of the learning process
  • to cultivate an environment of respect for all in keeping with one educator's comment, "Their STORY is bigger and more important than their crime!"
  • developmentally appropriate learning experiences that involve investigative processes, self-monitoring and problem-solving skills engaging higher-order thinking
  • This double sided canvas was created by the juvenile females at Estrella jail.

    Also participating is the "Release the Fear" program for juveniles in Maricopa county detention sites, facilitated by Robert Miley.

    Robert Miley with Melanie Ohm and Dennis Isabell, Fletcher Library Director.

    "Angel of Mass Exodus" by Robert Miley. The painting takes the form of an angel with a sense of strength and energy from within. It is a metaphoric statement about the balance of pain and reward when one is moving through transformation.

    What: Release the Fear, a non-profit health and human services organization, exists to provide Arizona's youth the life skills needed to combat the effects of bullying , abuse and violence in our society and to make better life choices. Programs encourage youth to explore safe and healthy lifestyles and to overcome disabilities through the development of leadership and social skills through evidence-based curriculum meeting Arizona education standards.

    How: These programs stimulate whole-brain thinking and develop metacognitive thought processing by utilizing new applied knowledge teaching methods. Inquiry-based learning is an educational practice where the teacher/facilitator uses controlled questioning to serve as a learning guide in order to move students towards new understandings. Educational research shows that student retention increases when new learning are discovered through inquiry practices, as the student is able to take ownership of these findings.

    Approach: Through experiential programs, we encourage participants to develop valuable core life skills, better critical problem solving, and a healthy sense of understanding self and others.

    Transformation: For the incarcerated youth who participated in just one Release the Fear workshop, that recidivism figure dropped by 23 percent. For those who were able to benefit from multiple workshops, it dropped by 46 percent—nearly half. Countering the effects of violence in our communities by turning fear, anger and hate into acceptance, hope and self-empowerment Mailings:
    P.O. Box 3815
    Phoenix, AZ 85030


    "Borders" by Martin Moreno

    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.

    Artist Martin Moreno and teacher received the Promoting Community Involvement and Education Award at Glendale's Hispanic Network Hispanic Heritage Breakfast in September 2011.

    Moreno, art director of Las Artes de Maricopa County, was born in Michigan where he grew up speaking Spanish at home and English in school. His parents worked in the fields and the foundries. He credits these experiences with providing much of the subject matter he depicts in his artwork. In the 30 years he has been creating art; his mission has been to enlighten the public by depicting not only the beauty of mankind but also those areas that are frequently kept hidden.

    "I don't always do pretty art, I believe it is the artist's right, even duty, to point fingers and depict the seamier side of humanity when needed," he said.

    In his work, for example, images of young people giving up their lives to drugs, alcohol and other abuses are sometimes depicted amid the aloe vera plants, which have healing powers. Moreno is also a founding member and past board member of Arizona Latin@ Arts & Cultural Center and one of 12 Chicano/Latino artists selected for the "Locals Only" exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum. He also was honored with the Arizona Governor's Artist of the Year award for 2011. The Arizona Republic

    Martin will be the keynote speaker for the reception at Fletcher library for the 125 students who created the artwork viewed on the 2nd and 3rd floors March 2, Friday, 10:00.

    Arizona Representative Gabrielle Gifford, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa are the subjects of these painting by youth at Las Artes including their stories of Human Rights... Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. - Nelson Mandela

    Las Artes de Maricopa is a program that has become a hallmark of the Valley of the Sun YMCA. Developed for disadvantaged youth age 16-21, struggling to overcome difficult circumstances, this innovative program helps them to realize that they can set goals—and achieve them. Young adults participate in a variety of public art projects while pursuing a GED or advanced job training programs. They also acquire key life skills including money management, how to interview for a job, and how to write a resume. The vivid art projects they create while they learn and grow remain as an enduring tribute to a caring community.

    Valley of the Sun YMCA and Maricopa County have joined forces to bring this innovative youth program to the West Valley. Las Artes provides opportunities for youth living in Maricopa County to participate in a variety of art projects while addressing academic, social and emotional needs, and pursuing a GED, advanced training, and employment.

    Programs are offered in South Glendale and in Maryvale. Please contact a Las Artes Staff member at 602.212.6188 or by email at for more information.

    Artworks are displayed from ANYTOWN youth camps' creative reflection programming, directed by Deanie Wlodek at the Y.

    Anytown has provided premier Youth Leadership, Diversity Awareness and Human/Civil Rights programs in Arizona since 1957. Anytown has provided training workshops, experiential programs and multiple overnight camps and conferences since the late 50's at Sky Y and Chauncey Ranch camps, as well as K-12 schools, Colleges and Universities around the entire State.

    As a part of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) founded in 1927, Arizona evolved through the decades. Currently partnering with the Valley of the Sun YMCA, Anytown is working with Camping Services to continue to provide the quality programming expected from our Arizona community since 1957.

    Anytown at the Y continues to focus on youth leadership development with an emphasis on human rights, civil rights, taking personal responsibility and taking action in our communities. Anytown works with other like-minded individuals and organizations to bring about growth, with opportunities to open minds and expand our view of the world.

    "We welcome the opportunity to share the thought-provoking works of talented local artists with the campus and surrounding community," said Dennis Isbell, Fletcher Library's director.

    For more information, contact Butzine at or 602.375.9553.

    This kind of collaborative programming could not occur without a supportive team effort. The Cultural Arts Coalition staff wishes to thank everyone who has contributed to this meaningful process including Margaret Rodriquez, ASU library staff, who coordinates the efforts inside ASU Fletcher Library.

    Photo Narrative created by judy butzine on January 22, 2012