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Writing Program at Summit County Juvenile Detention Center Honored

photo of judge gavel
The Designing Identities program started at the court six years ago and now also includes sculpting and computer art.

A creative writing program for youth in Summit County's Juvenile Detention Center has been honored by the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

The Designing Identities initiative was introduced at the center six years ago by Kent State University professors Kristine Pytash and Elizabeth Testa. Pytash says one of the pieces submitted for the award was a poem that was so well received, it’s being used to inspire a visual design work next year.

“It really talked about his experiences having to come to the detention center and the struggles that people in his community, or that he, has faced. And what all of that has meant for him in his life. The final design actually just happened and so now I’m hoping that in the next month or two, the production will be done.”

The work is being carried out by Kent State art students under the direction of Assistant Professor Larry King. Pytash adds that although the program’s focus is writing and literature, they also work with students who are interested in clay sculpting and computer art.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.