■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
The California Family Life Center and A.r.t.e.r.y. debuted their latest exhibit, “Re-Cycle” at the Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery Tuesday, Aug. 22.
The theme of this year’s exhibit was to emphasize the focus on the transference of creative energy, vision and goals through art with children, and perhaps most importantly – their mentoring skills.
Using entirely recycled materials, Re-Cycle showcases six handmade bicycle sculptures on the exhibit floor; individually made artists “wheels” hung along the exhibit walls.
The recycled materials used include book pages, organic ties, vegetable nets, hula hoops, broken umbrellas, belts, heavy electrical wire, drain pipes, table cloths, plastic water bottles, trash bags, and more. Two sculptures in particular, “Little Blue-Jean Trike,” and “Big Blue-Jean Bike” were crafted from 106 pairs of repurposed jeans!
The large Penny Farthing High in the Sky Bike, “Built for Two” Tandem Bike, Unicycle, and Garden Bike are also featured.
The 18 to 23-year-old mentors at A.r.t.e.r.y. work with children from the age range of 6-13, and teach them various methods of art, while building a one-on-one relationship.
“When I developed the curriculum, it had three components: one is community service; one is mentoring and collaboration in the arts; and the third is collaborative work (working amongst peers),” explained Michele Worth, program & youth development instructor, and founder of A.r.t.e.r.y., an acronym for Art Recognition Transition, Education Reciprocating Youth. Worth says that this year’s “Re-Cycle” theme was inspired by the children’s concerns for the environment.
One of A.r.t.e.r.y.’s goals in partnering with MSJC Arts Department is being able to expose the youth – mentors and children alike – to college.
“The whole idea of A.r.t.e.r.y. is to get their artwork on the campus,” explained Mary Jo Ramirez, executive director of California Family Life Center. “We’ve had classes come through [the gallery] from the college where the students have been admiring their work, and our students hear that, and it builds their self-esteem.”
Richard Perez, who dreams of becoming a cartoonist or an animator, got involved with California Family Life Center (CFLC) after school when he started to look for jobs years ago. Now, he is one of the mentors at A.r.t.e.r.y., and his artwork is on display.
“It feels good,” he said about his artwork being on display. “It looks like an accomplishment.”
Introspective journals written by the children are also displayed, which gave them a chance to identify their “handlebars” (steering and guidance), “wheels” (moving forward), “brakes” (stopping), “bell” (positive identity), “chains/reflectors” (support chains), and their “seats” (comfort/support).
“I hope I can support someone just like my parents do because I want to support other kids and their parents,” wrote Rosie, 12, in her journal. “I hope when I grow up I can support lots of people that need it.”
“I want to get my diploma and become a doctor, so when my mom or grandma are sick I can help them,” Shantise, 11, wrote about her Wheels. “But the best thing is that I grow up to be a good person.”
Some of the contributing sponsors for the Re-Cycle exhibit include Worth Visual Arts, Planet Youth, Rubidoux Youth Opportunity Center, and Empower Youth, Hemet, located at 930 N. State St.
“I believe that everybody should wake up and love what they do,” added Ramirez. “That’s what these programs offer them.”
Re-Cycle will be on display until Sept. 14 at the MSJC Art Gallery, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Check it out while you still can!