Incarcerated Juveniles Hope Their Art Will Help Fight Crime From Behind Bars

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A youth art exhibit, called “Voices From Inside,” features 34 pieces from kids who are locked up in the state’s juvenile correctional facilities.

The incarcerated youth hope their art will help fight crime – from behind bars.

The paintings practically speak through the canvas.

Michael, who is 16, scratched away the surface of a Rembrandt to reveal the colors underneath.

“My paintings and my drawings are my stress-relieving techniques that I use, so whenever I get frustrated or angry or upset, I’m able to just use my art to express my feelings and just calm me down,” he said.

Michael’s other works include sketches of Einstein and rapper Eminem.

He spoke with CrimeTracker 10 via phone from a detention center in northern Ohio.

He’s convicted of a crime that he’s trying to put behind him, and he said the art exhibit at Franklin University is helping him choose right from wrong.

“And so, I’ve turned my life into a direction where I want to be able to help people, and at the same time, help myself,” Michael said.

All of the art, which is slated to go up for auction on Wednesday night, will benefit the Brian Muha Foundation.

Muha was a college student murdered 14 years ago in Steubenville.

The artists say they chose the foundation as a way to give back.

Organizers say the art is also helping youth avoid a life of crime.

“If the youth self-esteem is increased and healthy communication skills can be increased, their bride is increased and they can believe in themselves,” said Dr. Karen Miner-Romanoff of Franklin University. “That can lead to lower re-offending rates.”

Michael says he believes in that theory.

“We all make mistakes, and it’s what we do after those, what we learn from those mistakes that make us who we are,” Michael.

The exhibit runs through Friday at Franklin University. Bidding begins Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Alumni Hall at 301 E. Rich St., near Downtown Columbus.

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