We Are Family
The grand foyer of Bronx Family Court features a mosaic mural by James H. Alston and a knotted tapestry by Roy Lichtenstein. While these works are certainly beautiful and impressive, they may be a bit too serious for the youngest and most vulnerable clients who enter the court.
Given an opportunity to fill the empty wall between these two illustrious pieces of art, Creative Art Works Youth Apprentices chose to create a work that was bright, colorful, and unapologetically kid-friendly.
This is not to say that the work lacks impact. The five contiguous canvases illustrate a poem by CAW Youth Apprentice Shataysha Byrd. The poem, which mentions specific Bronx landmarks, speaks directly to the children who find themselves under the protection of Bronx Family Court. The Poem and the painting share the same title: "In Harmony's Way."
IN HARMONY’S WAY
written by Shataysha Byrd
edited by Jenieva McIntosh
Growing up in the boogie down Bronx
Love wasn’t something that was taught to me so easily
As the train doors opened, my journey seemed to begin
Scared and unaware
The future looked foggy and filled with uncertainty
Pushing for better days, I called for help
Caged and locked in, spiraling down
A misunderstood kid
But I got better
The system I had once thought bent on breaking me
Brought me help
Through tutoring they pushed for me to finish school
Bringing colors to my sky
Light and Harmony
Trips to Yankee stadium and the Bronx Zoo filled my memory
The family that I’ve created outside of my blood
Molded me into the person I want to be
And the greater idea is that my life has just begun
And my train ride isn’t over yet
Emotional, Exciting, Tearful, Inspiring
The list of attendees at the official unveiling of "In Harmony's Way" was impressive, even a bit intimidating. It included NYC Council Member from the 16th District Vanessa Gibson, Family Court Judge Peter Passidomo, Chief Clerk of Court George Cafasso, First Deputy Chief Clerk Michael McLoughlin, mentors from our pro bono partner Gensler, and members of the CAW Board of Directors and CAW staff.
Our Youth Apprentices took a moment to psych themselves up, and then stepped up to the podium and delivered like pros.
BronxNet captured some of the energy of the occasion.
I always had a love for art, but I didn’t always have a way to show it, because I don’t have a lot of opportunities to paint a room like this, to show off my art. This has been a great opportunity to improve as an artist and build my confidence.
Coming into this program, I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, my teammates, my family, we all had great chemistry. Everybody has an idea that is represented on this mural.
These past six weeks are something I will never forget, and this mural is something I will never forget, and what we did for the community is something I will never forget.
My summer with these crazy people has been absolutely amazing. We sat down and talked about everything. We made all the jokes in the world. But we clearly created something beyond beautiful.
Read Bios of All the Bronx Family Court Youth Apprentices in
the commemorative brochure.