California Arts Council

State of California

Arts Council joins First Lady Maria Shriver at the Women's Conference on October 26-27
Works from Ventura and Alameda County's Juvenile Justice arts programs and L.A.-based arts for at-risk youth to be displayed

Published: 10-20-2009

The California Arts Council will join First Lady Maria Shriver and an estimated 20,000 Californians at the California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women on Monday and Tuesday, October 26 and 27 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Featured exhibits include artwork centered on the Minerva theme created by teenage girls at Ventura County and Alameda County juvenile justice programs, as well as murals from Inside Out Community Arts and large-scale puppets from the Center for Celebration Arts, two Los Angeles County-based arts organizations for at-risk youth and communities.

Girls at both the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center and the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Complex worked with professional teaching artists to create a series of Minerva quilts based on their own interpretations of Minerva. The programs are coordinated and supported by the Alameda County Arts Commission and the Ventura County Arts Council in the respective counties, and artwork from both programs will be on display at the California Arts Council booth. The image of the Roman goddess is on the California state seal and is the namesake of the prestigious Minerva Awards, presented each year at The Women's Conference to five remarkable women who have made exceptional contributions to their communities and society.

The Minerva-related arts projects serve to inspire young women through the arts.  "I believe I'm an artist -- someone with a creative mind," noted Ashley*, an incarcerated youth in Ventura County. "I think that having fun and doing what I like to do really let me put some energy in something positive." (*last names are not publicly released for minors in the program)

The specific arts projects served to develop both educational and self-esteem goals. The artwork focuses on the Roman goddess' qualities of courage, strength and wisdom, and the teens were encouraged to think about these traits in themselves when creating their artwork. 

"I didn't know (about) Minerva (before) ... honestly, I couldn't even remember what was on the California seal before this," continued Ashley. "I would like to paint more. I only thought I was creative when it came to writing."

Last year First Lady Maria Shriver enthusiastically supported the Minerva-related arts projects for at-risk girls: "I believe that each woman is the artist of her own life," said Shriver in 2008. "My hope is that young girls will be inspired by the Minerva project to develop qualities they wish to see in themselves."

Two Los Angeles arts organizations involved in arts for at-risk youth and communities will also participate with the California Arts Council at The Women's Conference. The Center for Celebration Arts in Los Angeles -- an artist-driven, community-based arts organization dedicated to engaging diverse communities in the creation of unique artistic expressions -- designed and created oversized puppets, including one of Minerva specifically for The Women's Conference. And Inside Out Community Arts, a nationally recognized theater-arts community program for at-risk pre-teens in the Venice area of Los Angeles County, will present a series of oversized murals created by students in the program.

Programs from the Alameda County Arts Commission, Ventura County Arts Council, and  Inside Out Community Arts are currently or have been in the past supported by funds from the California Arts Council through sales and renewals of the Arts License Plate. The Arts Plate, with its iconic image of palm trees and sunset, was created in 1993 by California Artist Wayne Thiebaud, and since then proceeds have provided more than $20 million for arts programs for children and communities statewide. 

return to from the vault