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Art exhibition to help at-risk youth

  • Worthy project: Art Masterworks founder Tom Butterfield, national security minister Wayne Caines and anti-gang co-ordinator Leroy Bean at an exhibition to encourage youngsters to express anti-violence feelings through art (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An exhibition to encourage youngsters to express anti-violence feelings through art is a dream come true, a gallery founder said yesterday.

Tom Butterfield, the executive director of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, said that he was “really thrilled” by the Why Art? Why Now? Anti-violence Artistic Expressions exhibition.

Mr Butterfield said: “It is something I have been dreaming about for over 35 years.

“It has such a positive implication to it all.”

The exhibition will be a partnership between the gallery and the Government.

It will be open to children aged 6 to 18, and will also include art created by inmates at Westgate Correctional Facility.

A total of $9,000 will be awarded to artists for works in several categories, including traditional paintings, digital media and photography.

Mr Butterfield said that it was “imperative” that all community members had access to view and showcase art.

He added: “Since opening its doors 11 years ago, the Masterworks Museum has had an unflinching objective to engage in the process of creating and looking at artwork as a unifier, and making sure that the playing field is level for all.

“Through the visual arts we can create a one Bermuda, rather than the perception of two Bermudas or many Bermudas.”

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said the project was designed to “tap into our community’s creative energy”.

He added: “It has been said that the arts, in all of its expressions, can help save our children from a life of violence and gang activities.

“The arts can transform the lives of our most vulnerable and at-risk people.”

Mr Caines said that the artwork that came out of the project “will revolutionise our country and allow our country to heal”.

He added: “These are the types of initiatives that change patterns of behaviour.”

Leroy Bean, Bermuda’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator, said that art offered an emotional outlet.

He added: “We believe that this initiative is going to bring out deep inner feelings, as they start to put it on paper; as they start to paint.

“It’s going to bring out the best so that we can come up with solutions and also come up with other ideas of how we can combat gang violence.”

Mr Bean thanked community members for their part in helping “gang violence to be on the decrease”.

He added: “We appreciate you. Without you, we can never get the results we’re trying to accomplish.”

The exhibition will run from February 28 to March 6 at the gallery located at Botanical Gardens.