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On February 28th, the Department of Youth Services (DYS) hosted a reception at the Boston federal courthouse to showcase the works of a unique group of artists. The artists are children that have been involved with DYS, the state juvenile justice agency. The theme of the displayed artwork was change.

The artists present at the reception included 17-year-old Ricky Brown, who helped to paint a mural at the DYS district office in Springfield. “It makes sure to say that we’re not only there to get locked up,” says Ricky. “It’s there to let people know that we do work together, we do do something positive.”

Acting DYS Commissioner Ed Dolan said that he hopes the exhibit will help people realize that his agency is less about punishing kids, and more about helping them become productive adults in the future. In listening to what the artists have to say, it seems that the DYS has succeeded in putting these kids back onto the right track.

See the artwork, listen to interviews, and read an article by Deborah Becker of WBUR at


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