New Reentry Center Integrates Art and Culture

On June 28, 2019, LA County opened a "first-of-its-kind Reentry Center" at 3965 South Vermont Avenue. The center aims to reflect a new but proven approach to making justice more restorative and humane while keeping our communities safe, according to LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The top floor of this three-story center houses a unique-to-the-County program, Developing Opportunities Offering Reentry Solutions Center (DOORS). DOORS will offer a range of services from housing to mental health services under one roof. DOORS also features 19 murals by Olalekan Jeyifous, commissioned through the Department of Arts and Culture.

The murals illustrate a positive direction and future for clients and include references to education, literacy, employment and occupations, community, healthcare, and local architecture, and vegetation, as well as references to music, art, and performance relating to the programmatic functions of the Reentry Center. These characters, text, and symbols speak to countless opportunities, resources, help, advocacy and support available to clients, visitors, and the community at large.

Olalekan Jeyifours Murals at 3965 S. Vermont Re-Entry Center

Also part of an innovative cross-sector model, Arts and Culture is coordinating efforts to embed an artist or arts organization into at-large reentry activities at the center to establish an arts-focused approach to client care. Following a selection process, Fabian Debora of Somos LA Arte - Homeboy Art Academy was selected to pilot this arts engagement.

Over time, participants will:

  • Engage in participatory arts learning, gain skills in an art form, create original work, and tap into creative expression;
  • Enhance cognitive, linguistic, social-emotional, and civic development;
  • Envision positive pathways to college or careers and attain both the knowledge and skills needed for success and employment in the creative economy;
  • Develop relationships with artists and community-based arts organizations that will aid in continuing their artistic pursuits through mentorships, internships, apprenticeships, and employment opportunities;
  • Be empowered to engage in arts and culture in their communities.

In addition, the arts will be used to establish a creative, collaborative culture across the Reentry Center via ongoing professional development and opportunities for staff engagement in the arts.

Building on initiatives to integrate arts in both juvenile justice reform efforts, including a $750,000 Grant from the Art For Justice Fund in December of 2018, this represents a new opportunity for the Department to expand arts and culture for social impact.