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Project Description: 

- Artist:  Carolyn Elaine

- Participants:  At Risk Teens 

- Sponsorship:  Jane Addams Hull House Foundation & National Endowment for the Arts in Public Places

- 28 4' x 8' panels of Broken Tile Mosaic 


Since 2004, Carolyn Elaine has completed nine consecutive residencies with the Cook County Juvenile Correction Center, working exclusively with teens on probation. Thus far, twenty eight 4’ x 8’ mosaic tile panels have been installed. These large scale artworks line the public corridors leading to the courtrooms and the center corridor, enhancing a space which was once viewed as an impersonal warehouse for problems. The artwork which has humanized the environment also brings awareness of a different aspect of the youth and the judicial system, contrary to the stereotypes perceived by the public. The themes of the artworks range from “Unity in the Community” to “Teen Pregnancy”.


During the onset of each ten week residency Elaine serves as the facilitator of the dialogical process to elicit ideas for theme development. She carefully listens to what is being fore grounded, but must also be aware of what is in the background, what is not being said. It is imperative that these missing things are asserted, not as fundamental, but as being of value in creating a greater understanding of the overall vision.


Each residency consisted of ten to twelve teens working a total of forty hours to design, fabricate and install two mosaic panels. Creating opportunities for the participants to make artistic elements to be incorporated into the final artwork, allows the finished installation to serve as a symbol of the commitment to working out problems and bridging the gap between the reality and the ideal. This collaborative model demonstrates that the Judicial System is willing to make a commitment to creating a society in which many voices can be heard and to say “We value justice”.

Cook County Juvenile Correction Center (2005-2008)

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