All the young people and staff on the Keppel Unit of HMYOI Wetherby were delighted when an otherwise very dreary stairwell was transformed by a mural, designed and painted by some of the lads on In2Out’s Life Skills Challenge initiative.
The lads really appreciated having the opportunity of exploring doing art in a different way, and it was great to see them leaving their positive, hope-filled mark, literally on the walls of the prison.
Working with Clare, an artist invited to the Life Skills Challenge sessions, four of the lads shared their ideas about In2Out, life in custody and post-release. Clare sketched out their ideas as they talked, with the lads making suggestions and changes, and so together they came up with the design.
The lads drew a dark person because whilst in custody they feel hopeless. But they feel that In2Out helps draw out the hope that is inside them and helps them make it a reality. The design shows the things they desire or need on release, or things that inspire them.
It took three days to complete the mural with each lad coming in turn to work with Clare and paint their part of it. One lad said:
“Someone has never let me have a go on something like this before.”
And another shared how much it meant to be trusted to add his art to someone else’s work. The other lads on the Keppel Unit watched day by day as it took shape. Each day they were challenged to see what had been added to it.
Through this particular Life Skills Challenge, some of the lads were able to enjoy and explore art and creativity, discovering both the possibilities of art as a job as well as the therapeutic means of self-expression.