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ArtCarTraz' Juvenile Offenders Win First Place at Art Car Awards

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


ArtCarTraz To Be Auctioned Off For Charity Shortly

Houston, TX (May 16, 2005) – ArtCarTraz was selected by a distinguished 
panel of judges as the 1st place winner in the “Best Entry By A Youth 
Group” category at the Art Car Awards Brunch at the Orange Show Center 
for Visionary Art on Sunday, May 15 in Houston, TX.  

ArtCarTraz was created from May 2 – 11 by offenders housed at juvenile 
correctional facilities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana while en 
route to Houston, TX where it was seen by over 200,000 spectators as a 
participant in the Orange Show’s 17th Annual “Everyones Art Car Parade” 
on May 14.  ArtCarTraz was one of 280 entries in the parade.

ArtCarTraz will be on display in Greenwood, MS until June 1 as plans 
for its auction become finalized. Proceeds from the auction will be 
donated to SKIP, Inc., a Montgomery, AL-based non-profit organization 
that mentors children of incarcerated parents. 

“ArtCarTraz provided us an opportunity to reach a large regional 
audience with an example of the remarkable talents that reside within 
the juvenile justice system, and the response was a huge affirmation to 
continue providing arts programs to these gifted youth,” said Grady 
Hillman, President of the Southwest Correctional Arts Network, the 
parent organization of ArtCarTraz. “We hope that the buyer will re-gift 
the car back to SCAN so that we can continue to utilize it as a 
tangible and mobile advocacy tool.” By designing and painting the car 
in order to raise money to benefit a separate population of underserved 
and at-risk youth, ArtCarTraz has enabled these juvenile offenders to 
engage in the process of restorative justice by using their efforts and 
talents to give back to the community.  

ArtCarTraz is an unprecedented initiative that enabled juvenile 
offenders across 3 states to work together to design and create a 
traveling work of art for charity. ArtCarTraz was a mobile work-in-
progress mural created, using Auto Air Colors paint, one section at a 
time by the juvenile offenders housed at the Alabama Department of 
Youth Services facility at Mt. Meigs outside of Montgomery, AL, the 
Oakley Training School outside of Jackson, MS, and the Bridge City 
Correctional Center for Youth outside of New Orleans, LA. 

While traveling, ArtCarTraz helped raise awareness for the important 
benefits of correctional arts programming which has been shown to both 
improve offender behavior while incarcerated, and reduce the chance of 
re-offending once released.  The ArtCarTraz story was covered by 
everyone from the Associated Press, NPR, and Alabama Public Television, 
to the Times Picayune (New Orleans), the Jackson Advocate and Houston 
Media Source, as well as additional local TV news in each market.

Judges for the Art Car Awards Brunch were Andrei Codrescu (poet, 
novelist, essayist, screenwriter, distinguished professor of English at 
Louisiana State University, and founder of the Exquisite Corpse 
literary journal), John Maizels (publisher of Raw Vision magazine), 
Marilyn Oshman (arts advocate and collector, and Orange Show Foundation 
organizer), Ann Harithas (arts curator and patron, and founder of the 
Houston Art Car Museum), Erika Nelson (creator of “The World’s Largest 
Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest 
Things” based in Lucas, KS), and Larry Harvey (founder of Burning Man).

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