This mural was commissioned through a special program and paid through state funding. It was designed to express a welcoming message to children and visitors into the youth shelter. It consists of a group of young teens warmly greeting visitors and new arrivals. One of John's design-requirements was to have the youngsters participate in the art-making process.
After meeting with social workers and agency administrators, he proposed a multimedia design that young minds could easily relate to. It consisted of a central group of figures enclosed by a frame of interlocking puzzle-shaped tiles. A piece is missing -the one that completes the frame. This "missing piece" is a representation of the agency's mission statement: the puzzle will not be completed until all children at risk are safe.
and then selected two local artists to meet with the children and find ways to include their imput and participation in the creation of the artwork. This was accomplished by having them, under the artist's guidance, shape the ceramic pieces and then inscribe them with personal messages. This made the artwork very special, exciting and meaningful to the children and visitors to the site.
|Youth Shelters and Family Services provide a temporary refuge and security to homeless, runaway and young people in-crisis. They also address health, safety, education and workforce opportunities so they can achieve lifetime independence.|
While a group of youngsters worked the tiles at the ceramist studio, another group posed for reference photographs used in the painted part of the mural. In fact, these are actual portraits of youngsters from the shelter. The painting was executed by another artist after the tiles had been installed on the exterior wall of the brick building. The center area was finished smooth with cement and then painted with acrylic paints. Youngsters from the center served the models posing for reference photographs.
John has always been an enthusiastic supporter of young people wanting to enter this demanding art field. He has been both a patron and teacher to many over the years. Artists, students and individuals from various countries around the world also write to him for guidance and advice. His email is listed on the