Fine Arts Director of George Junior Republic, Glen Sanders, in collaboration with sculptor, Jim West developed an opportunity for George Junior Republic students to use their voice in creating art through the “MAN UP” project. With supervision and instruction given by the teachers, Rebecca Limberg, Chad Weierstall and Mike Jenkins, students created 2D and 3D art that tells their stories of what it means to “MAN UP”. While drawing, painting working in cardboard, wood and metal students told their stories dealing with tough subjects such as abandonment, abuse, death, incarceration and feeling responsible for the welfare of their family. While creating their art work and telling their stories they also talked about forgiveness, responsibility, wholeness and hope. “MAN UP” has been an opportunity to give a voice to young men who usually don’t get the chance to share their story to others outside the juvenile justice system and social services. The hope is this art show will not just give these young men an opportunity to share a part of themselves but to also help others become part of the discussion on what it means to “Man UP”.
The George Junior Republic Art2O program serves over 150 students each year. The afterschool program provides students a broad spectrum of life enhancement skills through fine art experiences. Small groups, ranging up to eight students, meet twice per week with an artist in a studio setting to develop and explore new techniques and ways of thinking. Staff provides instruction and resources for the creation of individual work as well as community – based works in partnership with communities and professionals.
The Art2O slogan is Just Add Art and Watch Us Grow. Just as H2O is essential for life to grow, Art20 is essential for the quality of life to grow. Students participating in the fine arts program have the opportunity to enhance the quality of their own lives and others through art and are more equipped to develop an understanding of their responsibility to society, family, and others.