By Linda Looney-Bond
The walls of the lobby and hallways in the Clayton County district attorney's office are no longer bare. They now display artwork created by children who were temporarily housed at Rainbow House, a local children's shelter.
"It gives a spark of joy to a place that's not always the happiest place to be," said Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.
"Coming from juvenile court, it's a good segue for me to this office," said Graham Lawson, a former long-time Clayton County Juvenile Court judge.
The collection of drawings, photography, and three-dimensional art pieces was hung Wednesday. Heather Tarticchio, safe place coordinator for Rainbow House, which houses abused and neglected children, said the shelter received a grant from the state Grassroots Arts Program to bring in a professional artist to work with the children. "It gives them a chance to express themselves, because a lot of them have been through a really hard time," said Tarticchio.
As part of the grant program, the collection of artwork has been on display at several locations around the county, including the Clayton County library headquarters in Jonesboro, and the Department of Family and Children Services Social Services Annex, according to Tarticchio.
The collection was brought to the district attorney's office with the help of Arts Clayton, a nonprofit organization that supports the arts and artists in the county.
"Tracy Lawson's office was looking for some artwork. I knew the Rainbow House work was out there, and they were looking for a place [for the collection] to go," said Karen Powers, gallery manager for Arts Clayton. "It just seemed like a perfect partnership to put together," said Powers.
The art collection will also serve as a fund-raiser for Rainbow House, according to Tarticchio. Donors will be able to purchase a piece of artwork, with the funds benefiting Rainbow House. She said the pictures would remain in the district attorney's office for viewing, and donors would receive recognition for their donations.
For more information on the art collection or Rainbow House, visit www.rainbowhouseinc.org.