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Expressing Human Rights - An Exhibition

More than 100 students from both South Mountain High School and Las Artes de Maricopa (YMCA) attended a reception sponsored by Dennis Isbell, Administrative Director at ASU West campus, Fletcher Library, on Friday, March 2, 2012.

Erik Erspamer, Chairperson of the South Mt. Visual art Department, addresses the youth.

Exhibit: Expressing Human Rights: All People Free & Equal: An Exhibition

Location: Fletcher Library, ASU West campus

Available: January 20-March 16, 2012

Exhibition Mission: The Cultural Arts Coalition presents artwork by local artists; youth in detention, in rehabilitation, and on probation; and South Mountain High School students as a means to explore and inquire about rights. This exhibition was curated by Judy Butzine and Melanie Ohm, co-founders and directors of the Cultural Arts Coalition.

This is the third year the Cultural Arts Coalition has honored the magnet arts teachers from South Mountain and their students with an exhibition for pursing thoughtful and engaging themes that reflect worldview issues and the creation of visual artsí expressions that are expertly rendered from these critical thinking and art history dialogues.

This kind of collaboration and celebration 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: Dennis Isbell, Director, and Margaret Rodriquez, administrative staff member.

Other featured organizations that supported this same subject and the youth who participated:

1. "The Thoughtful Warrior" program @ Lower Buckeye & Estrella jails with male and female juveniles, Project Director Melanie Ohm

2. "Release the Fear" for juveniles in Maricopa county detention sites facilitated by Robert Miley

Martin Moreno discusses with the South Mountain H.S. youth his artworks.

3. Las Artes de Maricopa at the Y, for disadvantaged youth age 16-21, struggling to overcome difficult circumstances, facilitated by Martin Moreno

4. ANYTOWN youth camps creative reflection programming, Deanie Wlodek, Director at the Y.

What do these rights mean to a young person facing the criminal justice system? What is security when incarcerated? Freedom when on probation? Or the right to privacy when in rehabilitation? This exhibition of work by youth and teaching artists challenges us to come to a deeper understanding of the 30 Universal Human Rights (, and in particular Article 29, which describes our responsibility to protect the rights and freedoms of all.

People may create conditions in their lives that diminish their CIVIL rights, but they still have rights because they are HUMAN. Everyone has rights.

Mike Graser, Director at Las Artes de Maricopa, discusses the issue of human rights with these students in front of the canvas painted by Robert Miley and other artworks created by youth during his "Release the Fear" workshops.

Martin Moreno, 2011 Governorís Artist award winner, was the key note speaker. His strong message were heard by all. Artists are our visionaries of the future. They are also our recorders of history. The responsibility each of you holds in this community is profound. Give honor to it and pursue your dreams.

Photo narrative by judy butzine, March 9, 2012.