Making Justice

Making Justice.Building Community

Making Justice is a community-based learning program for at-risk and court-involved teens that includes weekly workshops and an artist-in-residence opportunity. The program addresses the nation's widest black/white educational achievement gap and highest per capita black juvenile arrest and incarceration rate.* Offered in collaboration with a diverse spectrum of artists, educators and activists, Making Justice fosters community engagement and self-expression via graphic and 3D art, photography, spoken word, performance, video and life skills projects. Learn more about the making of Making Justice and how the program developed BEHIND THE SCENES.

While teen participants are focused on creating a final product, workshop leaders are more concerned with relationship building, basic skill development and connection to the community.

Making Justice is currently funded by Scooter Software, Magic Pebble Foundation, Epic Software and Madison Public Library. Initially developed as a Wisconsin Idea initiative, the program was seeded in part by grants from both UW-Madison's Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and Morgridge Center for Public Service, along with a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

* Wisconsin Council on Children & Families, Race to Equity (2013).

Growing Voices

Weekly Making Justice workshops annually serve over 500 at-risk and court-involved teens in collaboration with the Dane County Juvenile Court Detention Center, the Dane County Juvenile Court Shelter Home, the Neighborhood Intervention Program, and several classrooms within Madison Metropolitan School District. The project-based workshops foster hands-on, peer-supported learning and digital literacy, connecting teens with diverse community and campus partners, including faculty and students from University of Wisconsin-Madison.* Workshop participants create graphic and 3D art, photographic, spoken word, storytelling, performance and video projects documenting themselves, their communities and the justice system. Collaborative projects accommodate a variety of interests, skills and learning styles, and are contextualized to connect with teen experiences and community resources; see Creations for examples. Making Justice partners include community advisors who review program design and suggest resources; guest facilitators who help design and lead program sessions; juvenile justice agencies that review program design and supervise program teens; media art consultants who provide design and technical support; secondary-school educators who facilitate curriculum development; and UW programs that support Making Justice faculty and students.

  • Check out the CREATIONS page for examples of the projects brought to teens on a weekly rotation.
Detention Center & Shelter Home
stylized photo of Rob Dz

Separate from the Bubbler's official Artist-In-Residence program taking place in library buildings, the Making Justice Artist-In-Residence series brings a local artist to the Juvenile Court Detention Center and the Juvenile Court Shelter Home, in addition to our weekly workshop commitment, to offer an intensive series that explores a specific genre. When possible, we aim to align the residencies with public school vacations for more in-depth learning experiences for teen residents while teachers are out of the office during Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break and Summer Break.

Most Recent Residency

  • CARLOS EDUARDO GACHARNA - Making Justice Program Leader - September 2016 -- March 2018
    Carlos Gacharna is a Colombian artist who has made a life out of creating interactive spaces for others to explore. His hope is for these spaces to bridge gaps between communities – in the classroom, in the gallery, and across the globe.  As an artist and maker, he constructs material explorations of matter and light to express contemplative ideas surrounding identity, ritual, and the human touch. As a program leader Carlos is gifted with the ability to create safe spaces to learn and build relationships, and he is dedicated to prevention by connecting at-risk and court-involved youth to a diverse community of artists and mentors -- and experiences.
    • Check out the Juvenile Detention Center's Intake Mural!
    • Check out the Juvenile Court Shelter's Classroom Mural!
    • ​Check out video and pictures of the Black Light Chalk workshops Carlos uses to bring fun chemistry lessons to teens.
    • And definitely take a look at two semester-long Teen Bubbler projects spearheaded by Carlos over the 2016-2017 school year, providing teens the opportunity to produce and present a portfolio in public art exhibitions like Too Much Sauce and Air It Out.
    • Listen to Carlos's experiences with this interview on WORT!


Previous Residencies

  • LESLEY ANNE NUMBERS - Juvenile Court Detention Center - August 2017
    Lesley Anne Numbers is a printmaker, illustrator, and art educator based in Madison, Wisconsin. She currently teaches screen printing at The Center for Printing Arts at Madison College, plays around at Polka! Press, Madison's printmaking cooperative, and creates prints for people and organizations she loves. With a background in art education and a lifelong love for old objects and the outdoors, Lesley and one of her students from Madison College, Lauden Nute, spent the month of August developing and producing a mural with teen residents. Lesley engaged the teen residents over the August break period when teachers were out of the office between the end of summer school and the beginning of the regular school year. This mural is located in the long hallway between visitation and lockdown.


  • CHRIS MADDOX - Juvenile Court Detention Center - Spring 2017
    Chris Maddox is a Madison-based artist who engages the world via equal parts research and studio practice. He is quietly intense about the nature of geopolitical boundaries, barriers to human perception of space and information, and interrogation of escapist strategies common in contemporary society. The subjects of his work lead him to visual forms typical of advertising, graphic design, cartography, editorial and entertainment media. Chris is the 2017 Barstow Artist-in-Residence at Central Michigan University, and will participate in artist residencies at Haystack Mountain School of Craft and Vermont Studio Center in the coming year. Chris engaged the teen residents with this mural project over the winter break period when teachers were out of the office.


  • RODRIGO CARAPIA - Juvenile Court Detention Center - Winter 2016
    Local mural artist, Rodrigo Carapia, grew up legally tagging buildings in Mexico City but had to adapt his craft to include acrylics and canvas after moving to Madison. Inside or outside, Rodrigo enjoys connecting with local teenagers by helping some of them find a way to positively express themselves and helping others to find a little zen in the process. Rodrigo engaged the teen residents over the winter break period when teachers were out of the office with a mural project.


  • ROB DZ - Juvenile Court Detention Center - Summer 2016 
    Local hip hop artist, Rob Dz, has been running teen workshops around the city for years and recently joined forces with the Bubbler as a resident sound engineer in the library's Media Lab at Central Library. Of the many things Rob can do, two of our favorites include a powerful set of workshops in Personal Branding and also in Music Production. Back by request after several successful past residencies (listed below), Rob will run a 10-week series at the Juvenile Detention Center in June, July & August, and will rotate between personal branding and music production workshops each week: 
    • Personal Branding workshops dig into the way you define yourself and the power of the messages and signals you send to those around you. 
    • Music Production workshops allow teens to use words and poetry to make their voice heard. Examples of music created in these workshops, and other workshops around the city, can be found in Rap Sessh.


  • BIRD ROSS - Juvenile Court Shelter Home - Spring 2016
    Bird Ross is a Madison-based studio artist working in textiles, mixed media and mundane objects, and currently energizes her studio practice through collaborative work, both nationally and internationally. Bird has brought over and setup her sewing machines and other tools at the Shelter Home and will spend two mornings each week for 3 weeks in March and again in May, teaching the residents how to make pillows, backpacks and other necessary items or clothing repairs.
  • ROB DZ - Juvenile Court Detention Center - Winter 2015
    By request after a successful summer series, Rob ran a 5-week series at the Juvenile Detention Center in December and January where he experimented with building a progression of songs every Wednesday with a different set of teens each week.
    • Examples of music created in these workshops, and workshops around the city, can be found in Rap Sessh.
  • RODRIGO CARAPIA - Juvenile Court Shelter Home - Winter 2015
    Local mural artist, Rodrigo Carapia, grew up legally tagging buildings in Mexico City but had to adapt his craft to include acrylics and canvas after moving to Madison. Inside or outside, Rodrigo enjoys connecting with local teenagers by helping some of them find a way to positively express themselves and helping others to find a little zen in the process. During the first two weeks of the new year, Rodrigo worked with teens in the Shelter Home every day to transform some of their interior wall space.
  • ROB DZ - Juvenile Detention Center - Summer 2015
    Rob ran an 8-week summer series, every Monday and Thursday. Mondays were the powerful Personal Branding workshop that digs into the way you define yourself and the power of the messages and signals you send to those around you. 
    Rob spent Thursdays presenting his energetic workshop in music composition and audio recording.
    • Examples of music created in these workshops, and workshops around the city, can be found in Rap Sessh.
    • Listen to Rob's interview on WORT!
  • VICTOR CASTRO - Juvenile Court Detention Center - Spring 2014
    ARTinside was an 8-week spring project where teens worked to transform the empty spaces of the county's detention center, creating a site specific art installation that was developed by the group and that used their inorganic debris generated every day, such as juice cups, milk cartons, and cereal containers. The project was on display for 18 months and a photodocumentation binder resides in the detention center library.
    • Use sorting tools to observe the different aspects of the art installation project, ARTinside.
    • Listen to Victor's interview on WORT!
  • NATE CLARK - Juvenile Court Detention Center and Shelter Home - Spring/Summer/Fall 2013
    For most of the year, Nate led weekly stop-motion animation or video game design workshops at both locations. His experience in the media production industry and his knack for engaging young learners was instrumental for the Teen Librarian to build a relationship with court administrators and build the trust needed for other Bubbler artists to enter the facility with workshops and projects.
    • Examples of the creations from these workshops, and similar workshops around the city, can be found in Stop-Motion and 3D World Building.


Joining Forces

Making Justice builds on the knowledge and energy of many people and organizations, and continues to change as new partners join the effort in different roles and capacities. The current program solidly stands upon the foundation built by many partnerships, a series of pilot programs and financial support from outside of the library.

Making Justice

In 2013, Madison Public Library and ArtSpeak staff began participating in each other's workshops, sharing practices, sharing community partners, and generating ideas. In 2014, Making Justice was launched and became a Wisconsin Idea initiative seeded by generous support from University of Wisconsin-Madison's Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, the Morgridge Center for Public Service and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. A broad spectrum of campus and community partners joined the initiative, including UW students in a community-based learning course offered via the School of Library & Information Studies.


In 2012, ArtSpeak Director Kay DeWaide at Community Partnerships, Inc. collaborated with UW-Madison faculty member Nancy Buenger to develop an expressive art program for court-involved Dane County teens, which incorporated UW student peer learners enrolled in the course Looking Beyond the Law's Letter.

Bubbler Animation

In 2012, Madison Public Library received a grant from the local Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Foundation to develop a portable stop-motion animation program for teens based out of the Goodman South Madison Library. The grant allowed the library to purchase equipment, contract with an animation instructor and build the program with teen input.  The library was able to reach target populations by working with key community outreach partners already serving court-involved teens that included Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, Dane County Juvenile Shelter Home, Community Partnerships Inc., and Centro Hispano Com Vida. 


In 2010, Madison Public Library began developing workshops for youth in the justice system with the uCreate project at Dane County Jail. uCreate was organized by Global Kids (NY) as their first Edge Project, and was done in collaboration with Dane County Library ServiceCharlotte Mecklenburg Library (NC) and Charlotte's Jail North. Edge Projects are interested in helping civic and cultural institutions to bring cutting edge digital media into their youth educational programs, and the uCreate pilot project linked youth detention centers with community libraries in two cities, to work specifically with incarcerated youth and new learning technologies.