AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net   CRHuston@zoominternet.net

"Where Words Fail...Music Speaks." Hans Christian Anderson. Those words, the theme of this year's exhibit, described the positive attitude of detainees in the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center.

Guests attending the third annual MCJDC "Art Experience" September 26 were greeted by upbeat music and a vibrantly colorful 41/2' by 8' mural designed and painted by detained youths who participate in the Center's Art Therapy Program.

Superintendent Ron Stollar's personal interest in art, its beauty, and the opportunity it gives people to express themselves more freely, motivated him to find a way to provide this therapeutic expression to the Center's detainees.

Local artist Sharon Borror responded when Superintendent Ron Stollar began looking for someone who would be willing to volunteer once a week to work with the kids. She continues to introduce a variety of ways in which the students learn to think creatively, analyze, and interpret as they create; often the students' efforts represent a difficult time they are experiencing in their lives.

Recently, the art therapy philosophy has been expanded to include the art of music. Madeleine Silver-Riskin, from the College of Wooster, volunteers her time to incorporate ways of using music for constructive expression. The art and music therapy programs are both safe, calming outlets for youth to process trauma they have experienced in their lives without having to relive and/or be re-victimized.

In a statement, Stollar said, "I want the community to know that we are doing our best to get our kids on the right track. We have services to help guide them toward better behaviors. Many youth have found that they are more artistic than they knew and it gives them a sense of value to create something they are proud to have displayed for others to enjoy."

The impressive display featured paintings, drawings, ceramics, yarn crafts, original songs, poetry, and countless positive messages written by the kids. Several pieces of the displayed artwork were up for silent auction; all the proceeds, plus donations, will be used to fund continued art therapy.

In addition, the MCJDC is partnering with The Children's Center of Medina County to help the county's troubled youth and the children who have been abused or neglected. Several donated pieces of artwork done by detainees of the MCJDC will be live-auctioned November 8, at The Children's Center's Annual Art with a Heart for Children Auction and Benefit.

The Children's Center will donate 50 percent of the proceeds to fund continued art therapy for detained youth.

The free open house included live music by guitarist Patrick Masalko sponsored by ORMACO, light snacks provided by Sully's Irish Pub (sponsored by Peak Auto Sales and Medina Collision Center), fresh coffee provided by Cool Beans Cafe, and free ice cream by Huntington Bank. Others Sponsors were Richardson Farms, 481 Graphic Design, and ICANDI Graphics.

Special thanks went to art contributors Velvet's West Main Framing, Brandy Miracle, Molly Pellerite, Edith Stollar, Cherity Kremer, Maggie Conwill, Stephanie Haynes, Diane Collins, and Maddy Riskin.

The Art Therapy Philosophy is "to leave no stone unturned in providing {our kids} with the resources they need to lead well adjusted, productive lives."