SF Juvenile Justice Center

San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center  2006
“Roots and Veins Public Art Project”

Commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission artists Johanna Poethig and Julio Morales integrate the voice of youth from Juvenile Hall into multiple permanent artworks created for the new Juvenile Hall Replacement Facility. The artists held workshops with youth which included photography, media literacy, drawing, graphic design, botanical studies and a writing project in collaboration with The Beat Within. The workshops explored issues of social justice, youth culture, and the notion of personal roots resulting in the use of imagery based on plant and branch forms.

The installed artworks are:
•Sand blasted glass in the building entry features a 40′ branch design incorporating text from Juvenile Hall youth
•Each of 8 different Juvenile Hall dayrooms features a unique 9’x20′ color field painting placed on the soffit above the central staff station
•Photographs taken of the hands of youth were the basis for this artwork in the Multi-Purpose Room. The artists translated the photos into illustrations which were silk-screened onto plexiglass light boxes set into the ceiling of the room. The effect, when illuminated, is of hands clasping halos of light.
•Low-relief sculpted plaster artwork composed of poetry and delicate plant forms surround the doorways into the dayrooms, as a gentle counterpoint to the building architecture.