L.A.City Councilman Mike Bonin Kicks Off JVS Art in the Community Program

Mike Bonin, 11th District Los Angeles City Councilman, visited the JVS Marina del Rey WorkSource Center – part of the America’s Job Centers Network - to recognize JVS’ new Art In The Community Program.

Councilman Bonin toured the WorkSource Center to see the installation of mosaics and watercolors that adorn the Center’s walls. In addition to creating an aesthetic environment that greatly enhances the experience of JVS job-seekers at the WorkSource Center, Art In The Communityprovides a forum for emerging local artists to display their work. The first Artists In Residence are the clients of sister nonprofit Piece by Piece, many of whom face multiple challenges, including homelessness.

The program was created by Marguerite Womack, JVS Director of Workforce Development, to enhance the quality of the client experience at the WorkSource Center by decorating the walls of common areas with beautiful, family-friendly art.

"I don’t think it can be sufficiently underscored how powerful is the ability of art to inspire, to open the imagination and the mind, to lift the heart and to fill the soul," said Bonin, "and that is such a great thing to be doing in a place where people are looking for work and trying to turn their lives around.”

“We strongly believe that when people are offered services in an aesthetic and uplifting environment, they feel better about themselves and the process itself,” added Womack. “The job search can definitely be an isolating and demoralizing experience and we want them to leave inspired and reinvigorated.”

One of our clients sent this message: “The beautiful pieces of artwork make me happy when I look at them.  Thank you so much for having them here; what a difference it makes in the ambiance.”

JVS invited Piece by Piece, with whom JVS has enjoyed a longstanding strategic partnership, to be the first featured artists on display.  Piece by Piece teaches residents of impoverished and underserved communities to create art pieces using broken mosaic tiles and other recyclable materials. Program participants, many of whom live on Skid Row, receive a portion of the sales of their work.

"What a powerful metaphor this is: recycling art for the folks who are going from Skid Row back into society and recycling their lives and being productive, not just for themselves but for all of us," Bonin said.

With the assistance and collaboration of Nicole LaBeaud, Managing Director of Piece by Piece, 23 mosaic works are currently on display throughout the WorkSource Center. The pieces are accompanied by an identification card which carries the work’s title and a photograph of the artist. The WorkSource Center also features 15 acrylics and water colors by JVS MIS Technician Nazrin Khatibi and additional works by local artist Wendell R. Wiggins.

The exhibit will remain on display for a minimum of three months, when the space will be offered to other emerging artists in the Santa Monica community. Plans are also underway to bring the Art In The Communityprogram to other JVS sites.  

In addition to Ms. Womack, the program is overseen by Maria Robinson-Glover, Director of Development Research for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Piece by Piece Managing Director Nicole LaBeaud and JVS staff members Elisa Taylor, Ivliz Castro, John Corbett and Nazrin Khatibi.

About JVS Los Angeles:  Longtime leaders in the workforce development field and advocates for the underserved since 1931, JVS helps people of all faiths and backgrounds overcome barriers to employment so they can achieve self-sufficiency. From the long term unemployed to veterans, foster and probation youth, people with disabilities and those moving from welfare to work, our goal is to provide individuals with the tools, resources and guidance they need through job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support. JVS serves nearly 30,000 Angelenos annually and in 2013 received Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating for the sixth consecutive year. To learn more, please visit www.jvsla.org.