When you're young and behind bars, it can be difficult to keep hope alive. And it can get even tougher after setbacks such as the recent Colorado Supreme Court decisions that did little to modify the sentences of 48 prisoners in the state prison system who are serving what amounts to life sentences for crimes committed when they were juveniles.
But there's also great resiliency among young offenders, as well as a lot of raw energy that, with some encouragement, can be put to good use. That's one reason for the Chained Voices art show on display at the Art of Life Gallery this weekend. A collaborative effort by the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center and several Denver-based forensic social workers, the two-day event features drawings, paintings, poetry, sculpture and other creative work by incarcerated juveniles, as well as some of the juvie lifers, now serving forty-years-to-life in the adult prison system.
All of the work is for sale, with proceeds earmarked for specific needs of the individual artists, ranging from school books to art supplies. But the aim is also to "help inform the public about the plight of juveniles incarcerated in the criminal and juvenile justice systems," a subject that is more troubling than ever in the wake of Colorado's ham-fisted response to a federal ruling that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.
Come for the cause, come for the noshing, or come for the cool jewelry boxes. It all gets under way at Art of Life Gallery, 200 Santa Fe, with a reception that runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 17 (with light snacks, beer and wine), and again from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 (continental breakfast items). For more information, call 303-882-6620.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.