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UPBEAT MURAL GRACES SUSSEX COUNTY FAMILY COURT COURTROOM

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Artist John Donato helping students from various schools on the Youth Advisory Council to paint the mural.

Thanks to the support of the Rehoboth Art League (RAL) and the vision of 18 past and present foster care children of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), Judge Peter B. Jones’s Sussex County Family Court courtroom now showcases a bright, 25‐foot‐wide mural depicting foster care children’s hopes and challenges as they travel along life’s path. A colorful, whimsical coastal landscape teeming with fish and birds serves as a backdrop to a road leading to an island with gently swaying palm trees. Traveling on, above and alongside the road, is a medley of animals and people. They are traveling collectively in a bus or individually on a skateboard; they are seated in a jeep or astride a motorcycle; they are floating in a hot air balloon or cutting through the waves and the air in speedboats or planes. Peppered along the way are positive, upbeat signs, billboards, and messages such as “Keep going forward,” “Don’t let your past dictate your future,” and “No turning back.” A bandaged, bent tree sports a sign that says “torn, but not broken.” The final destination is a lighthouse with an all‐seeing eye marked “Hope.”

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Honorable Peter Jones (center) from the Family Court, artist John Donato, and the owner of the Rehoboth Art League with the Youth Advisory Council in front of the finished mural.

The mural is the product of a joint collaboration between Family Court, RAL, and YAC. Judge Jones approached RAL about the the possibility of doing a project with YAC as part of RAL’s community outreach program. RAL immediately endorsed the idea and a meeting was set up between RAL, YAC, and the Court. The children were excited at the prospect of a mural and, with the assistance of a local mural artist, John Donato, work quickly got underway in studio space donated by RAL. The project was funded by RAL and completed in five days. Now, children entering the courtroom can view this wonderful addition and learn from their peers, who traveled on the same road, that hope is what they saw at the end of the journey.

The official unveiling of the mural took place on April 30, 2012, just in time for the month of May. May is Foster Care Month.

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For further information contact Guy.Sapp@state.de.us.

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