Art as/and public service

By Ben Gannon King County, as an employer, feels like a pretty magical combination of things that are important to me and how I want to live my life. The truth is I live for art. If I retired today, 25 years early, I know exactly how I would use my time: looking at art,…

Why restorative justice matters to me

After many hours of training to learn how to facilitate a restorative justice process, I recently had a real case and opportunity to prove my capabilities as a peer mediator and a proponent of restorative justice. The youth in this case had been caught shoplifting from a department store. The store’s security and eventually the police got involved in the…

Art in parks builds community

I had achieved a bit of notoriety for my ARTSparks Artificial Light installation at Occidental Park summer 2011.  After a month of painstakingly sewing sweaters around the trees, they only got to stay up for an additional month.  When the project was taken down to make room for other installing artists in the program, I…

Boots on the ground in Roads

A woman in my neighborhood and I have daughters who are college age.  When we meet, we talk about our kids. Late last spring, she told me that her daughter, Thu, was graduating from high school. She proudly showed me pictures of the ceremony, and of Thu’s co-valedictorian medal. Impressed, I asked what Thu was…

Sanctuary

There never seems to be any sanctuary in the jail. Barren walls, bright lights, noise, no privacy. We sit and talk about the hardest things, the most heart breaking things, while guards watch us and other chaplains and youth sit together, not more than twenty feet away. There is no holy place to be quiet,…