Project Hope: Using Art to Reflect and Move Forward

The Donald E. Long Juvenile Center located in Portland opened up its doors last Wednesday night to unveil Project Hope.  The program showcases the artwork by more than 100 of the teenagers currently in detention for committing Measure 11 crimes.  The art collective was created by well-known artist Arvie Smith back in 2009 and is funded by Multnomah County’s 2 percent for art program, set aside in the mid-90’s when the Juvenile Justice Center was built.  Smith has given these kids a chance to learn about their creativity and how to channel it once outside of confinement.  It also gives juveniles a bit of hope during a very dark time in their lives.  As Smith said to, “Hope is at the heart of the compositions”.

Richard Hall

Project Hope is also part of Intersections, an artist-in-residence program administered by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).  Richard Hall spent 19 years working with youth in the detention center.  He told Skanner News, “We get all kinds of kids.  Some should be here; others, it is their situation that got them here.  We form relationships, and it’s hard to see them come back.”  Hopefully with an outlet like Project Hope inmates will gain respect for others and break the patterns that have gotten them into trouble in the past.

Artist Arvie Smith with Peggy Kendellen of RACC and Amreet Sandhu (at left), Caryn Brooks, and Cary Clarke of Mayor Adams' office at unveiling.

The five murals on display throughout the county are filled with vibrant colors and touching stories.   Watch the creation and behind the scenes efforts of Project Hope by clicking here.

About cpetrone

Hi! My name is Carly and I want to make you laugh. My main goal is to become a sitcom writer. I've recently finished my first pilot called Powder Perfect and I'm currently working on another called The Pact. Unfortunately, paying the bills is also a monthly goal that must be accomplished. That was my long winded answer of saying that I'm also a freelance writer. Please contact me at for writing opportunities. You can also find me writing about my life at
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