Brush With the Law’s inclusive community uses art as a tool for social change and brings awareness to the critical social issues affecting our world today. Professional artists, students, advocates, and members of the behavioral health community work together to create meaningful changes in the lives of participants and the communities where they live.
Out on the streets is where participants need the most appreciation, and the most cheer-leading for their efforts in trying to regain a place in society. For the most part, drug addiction and mental health go hand in hand; due to similarities, this is also true for drug addiction and criminal activity. Brush With the Law quickly evolved into a community re-entry arts program that aims its focus on community service by seeking out city beautification projects.
Beautification is the process of making visual improvements emphasizing the necessity of order, dignity, and harmony.
Who works on the various projects BWTL takes on?
- College students (Arcadia University, Kutztown University, Montgomery County Community College, Bryn Mawr College)
- ARD Program – Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office
- DOC Prisoners – SCI Phoenix, SCI Greene, Montgomery County Correctional Facility
- Mental/Behavioral Health
- People in recovery from substance use
- People with community hours to serve
- Community members wanting to volunteer their time to a cause that engages people to work together.
All participants work creatively together on projects.
Roll Call Room, Norristown Police Station
For one of our first projects, we completed a mural that is displayed on the newly renovated Roll Call Room located inside of the Norristown Police Station. This mural is a dedication to the first female officer of the department, Lt. Patty Simons who lost .
The purpose behind this program is to inspire meaningful changes and lasting improvements in critical social issues that affect the incarcerated and those suffering from addiction and behavioral health . Our belief is that incarceration—especially for those afflicted with drug addiction—should incorporate rehabilitation. We need policies along with programming to focus on reform, not only punishment. The hidden powers the arts possess transcend all walls and limits.
For murals we often use the Polytab Method (a.k.a. “parachute cloth”). Polytab is a non-woven fabric, lighter-than-canvas material that takes on the form of the substrate it is applied to. Traditionally used in the garment industry, this fabric is now widely used in large public mural art projects.
The “parachute cloth” method makes it possible for people in all different places and spaces to participate in the creation of murals. This method makes it possible for us to take the fabric to various facilities for participants to draw and paint on and installed like wallpaper on the prepared wall surface.