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The Groovy Juvie Show
Clay can be a very contemplative artistic medium. It's a transformative process, morphing from a shapeless mass to sculpted design to the polished finished product which comes out of the kiln.
It's all very easy to see happening because everything is tangent, and being so, the finished product can have a profound impact on its creator.
Which is one reason why the county's Adolescent Recovery Services program, an outpatient program for teens dealing with alcohol and substance abuse issues, includes a monthly session of pottery for students in its juvenile rehabilitation programs.
Once a month, local, longtime professional potter Donna Vaquer makes a visit to group sessions to spend an hour on ceramics with the kids. Then she takes the work to her kiln in Port Orchard, fires it, and brings back the finished product.
Sometimes during the process there's a certain amount of push back from the youth, but Vaquer notes, "When I bring the finished things in and get to see their reactions, they really think this stuff is pretty cool.
"It's just a real morale booster to be able to do something and take it home to your family," she added. "I think we need more ways we can show these kids they're worthwhile. They don't have a creative excitement about doing things. They get down on themselves. It's good for them to get really excited about what they're doing and see what they can do."
Taking that one step further, in talking with Maria Mackovjack at the Old Town Custom Framing Gallery in Old Town Silverdale (which exhibits her work), Vaquer casually proposed having a dedicated show for students work from the juvenile program. Mackovjack, an ardent and exuberant local art supporter, was ecstatic about the idea.
Affectionately referred to as the "groovy juvie show" by Mackovjack, it hung earlier this month and is set to be feted with an artists' reception tonight starting at 6 p.m. at Old Town Custom Framing. The show will be up through the end of the month.
"This gallery show is really blowing me away," Vaquer noted.
Even prior to the reception party, more than a third of the 30-some pieces have sold at $30 a piece with all proceeds directly benefitting the county's Juvenile Department Youth Fund, and, Vaquer added, hopefully a bode of confidence directly benefitting the young artists in the program.
Over her years of involvement in the program, Vaquer said she's entered the kids work into other art shows and auctions a few times in the past, but never close enough to home where the kids could actually attend the reception or see the show.
"I think rather than inspired, I'm more aware of some of the struggles these kids go through," Vaquer said of what she's learned from the program. "These kids need all help in a positive way that they can get, and for the community to get behind this sale for them, I think is really positive."
"All they wanted was a pizza party," Mackovjack noted of the kids ambitions from the sale. "That's gonna be one hell of a pizza party."
SEE LOCAL ART FROM TEENS in the Kitsap Adolescent Recovery Services Program on display now through the end of the month at Maria's Old Town Custom Framing, 3255 NW Lowell St. in Silverdale. A reception for the kids is slated for 6-8 p.m. April 17. Info: www.oldtowncustomframing.com.