In January 2024, Xicameri Productions will be collaborating with the Youth Early Intervention Program (YEIP) to put on a series of art workshops for youth in the county who have either had contact with the juvenile justice system or challenges at school that could result in exposure to the system. These workshops will allow the teens/young adults to work with a local artist to create work that will subsequently be displayed at the Public Defender's Office and potentially in the Contra Costa Juvenile Courthouse in Walnut Creek. The theme of the art will be, "What does justice look like to you?"
This project has been sponsored by Jack Van Geem in memoriam of his late mother. Samples of her art can be seen to the right.
"My mother grew up in a desperately poor household during the depression. My Grandfather was a bootlegger, selling illegal alcohol to make a living. My mother lived in fear of being raided by the police. Her father also struggled with an alcohol addiction and behaved violently when he was drunk. She often left for school worried that her mother might not be alive when she returned home.
Art was her escape. She could imagine a better world, happier life and a more beautiful reality. It was her solace. She painted lots of brightly colored still-lifes, landscapes and outdoor bucolic village scenes. She also did self portraits but never revealed her face or her emotions.
She would eventually instill a love of art and a belief in the importance of art in her four children.
I fully support this project because it will provide an opportunity to help other young people cope with a frightening and stressful world and I feel that it honors her struggles. I hope her story might inspire others who are struggling as she did. It would be a fitting legacy for this amazing, talented and compassionate woman: my wonderful mother." - JVG
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