Department of Visual Arts

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  Visual Arts Department Student Community Projects

The Willimantic Juvenile Court Project

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VISION OF OPTIMISM
January 2007

Artwork by students from Eastern Connecticut State University & the Windham County Public Schools

The colorful banners and engaging children’s artwork that now enliven the lobby and hallways of Willimantic’s Juvenile Court Building were created by students from Eastern Connecticut State University’s Design Group, and the Windham County Public Schools. In response to a request from presiding Judge Francis Foley, students created work designed to send a message of hope, strength and courage to young people passing through the Juvenile Justice System.

Eastern’s Design Group students named the project Vision of Optimism because their banner designs reflect their collective optimism and belief in the future and its possibilities. The Design Group is a senior project experience for Eastern Digital Art & Design seniors in which students use their creative skills to connect with and contribute to the local community in a variety of ways. In this project, they separately and collaboratively created work that transforms the courthouse lobby into a positive visual environment and will engage young viewers in an imaginative dialog about love, trust and the possibility of a better life.

Along with the banners are thirty pieces of children’s artwork from the Windham County Public Schools, collected and curated by Eastern Art History student, Rachel Ensling. The young artists, who range in age from elementary through middle school, have contributed unselfconscious, personally meaningful images that will resonate with viewers of all ages. Landscapes, portraits, fantasy images and work referencing the Impressionist masters are included in this uplifting collection of children’s art.  Participating Windham County schools are: Windham Center Elementary School, North Windham Elementary School, Natchaug Elementary School and Windham Middle School.

Visual communication has the power to help us understand problems, envision solutions and offer help to others. Vision of Optimism: the Willimantic Juvenile Court Project, is a testimony to the power of visual statement, and the compassion and generosity of the young people in our community.

Project Articles: The Hartford Courant, The Willimantic Chronicle, The Broadcaster

Images from the Windham County Schools


Alyssa Morello – Grow, Nurture, Triumph

Suzanne Connors – Inspired

Jeffrey Fitzgerald – Respect

Sarah Reed – Positive Outlook

Hollie Knight – Hands of Hope

Amy Pjura – Putting the Pieces Together

Kyle Osolin & Chris Turiello – Words of Wisdom

Claudette Weir – You Are Not Alone

Kimberly Wiknik & Stephanie Tanguay – Unity

Jessica Emrich – Connections
83 Windham Street, Willimantic, Connecticut 06226 USA
Phone: (860) 465-0197 | Fax: (860) 465-0200
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