A message of Hope

These four paintings will bring a message of hope and beauty to visitors to a waiting room at Bronx County Family Court. The subjects are native New York species of plants and animals, including carp, great heron, milkweed and monarch butterflies, rendered in sumptuous shades of blue, orange, green, purple and ochre. These bucolic images are unified by themes of change, renewal, loyalty, and migration.

Life Lessons

This group of Youth Apprentices included both seasoned artists as well as absolute novices. All of them developed serious artistic chops over the course of six weeks, however they also gained tangible employment and life skills such as leadership, teamwork, responsibility and the power of taking initiative.


Ellis Carrion

CAW Youth Apprentice

Working at CAW taught me to have a growth mindset. If you only look for results, then you won't be able to see the journey that you took to get to where you are. And if you don't know how you got here, then you won't be able to make progress to get to where you need to be next.


Jade Gatling

CAW Youth Apprentice

“In the beginning, I wasn't really sure how I would fit in with the group, because I don't have a lot of art experience. But over time, I learned that art is supposed to be unique and not everybody has the same experiences, so what you may feel is a weakness can be used as a strength.”


Zion Boston

CAW Youth Apprentice

My working experience in Creative Art Works has taught me the importance of teamwork, because creating all of these paintings took communication and cooperation with each other to achieve our goal.

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“This spectacular art is the biggest YES that we can give our families.”

Bronx Family Court Judge Karen Lupuloff addressing our CAW Apprentices

Judge Lupuloff addresses Our Youth Apprentices

We first had the opportunity to work with the honorable Judge Lupuloff in 2017, when she was interviewed for the documentary, Speak Out, about the New York County Family Court. Judge Lupuloff’s comments at the unveiling the 2018 Bronx Family Court Paintings, excerpted below, were a highlight of the ceremony.


"This art is magnificent. I want to thank Creative Art Works, I want to thank our wonderful artists. And I want to say that you've now joined the ranks of famous artists from around the world. Vincent van Gogh, once said, "Art is to console those who are broken by life. And I want to touch people with my art." Every artist in this room understands what Vincent van Gogh spoke.

"I also want to tell you the story of how John Lennon first met his wife, Yoko Ono. In 1966, Yoko was showing her art at a gallery in London. One of her pieces of art was a ladder. John climbed to the top of that ladder to where there was a chain suspended from the ceiling, and hanging at the end of the chain was a spyglass, and when he looked into it, he saw the word yes in tiny letters. John then fell in love with Yoko.

"Yes is hopeful. Yes is confidence. And here in Family Court, this spectacular art that you have gifted to us is the biggest yes that we can give our families. Because when they see this art, they too will be positive instead of negative. They too will be hopeful instead of hopeless. You are bringing beauty to our families. When they're waiting for their cases to be called, they now have something to think about. Your art is inspiring. Your art is thoughtful. Your art is yes."


Devalis Carver and Leaire Smaltz put their words to a beat


Devalis Carver

Rapper and CAW Youth Apprentice

I remember when I didn't want help. I do it myself,
Real talk fire underneath me, ruined my health.
But being cocky,
Thinking I'm the only one who got me,
Hoo! You must have lost your whole mind
Thinking you can stick to the wall like a thumb tack.
Everybody that drains is clearly not sinking.
Rewire your brain, cuz you’re clearly not thinking.
You need a team or you're throwing yourself out.
How you figure this out when you're filled with self-doubt,
Genius? I guess you just stick to the long road,
Should I say the wrong road? Take you to the song, bro?

Got Leaire on the track, spit fire for us!

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Leaire Smaltz

Rapper and CAW Youth Apprentice

Didn't have any patience, show signs of frustration,
In my mind contemplating how I’ma finish this painting.
When I needed some assistance, my team was uplifting,
They granted me with the vision, my technique became prolific.
Came across trial and error, our path became clear.
The judgment day is here. We arrive with no fear!
I’m wielding the spear that brought us right here!
Our bond will never disappear!

Read About All the Bronx County Family Court Youth Apprentices in the Commemorative Brochure