Macon Youth Detention Center, Macon, GA - "Visualize Your Potential" 90' x 15'

Success and Testimonials

Since January 2011 the Emanuel Projects has served thousands of at-risk youth and staff and administrators in 50 facilities in 13 states. A total of 36 murals have been completed in facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisianna, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah covering over 28,000 square feet of mural space. Several hundred teachers have been trained on how to incorporate the arts into every day curriculum to help improve academic performance among incarcerated youth. Participating facilities throughout the country have experienced tremendous success with the Emanuel Project. The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice was so impressed with the programming the Emanuel Project inspired that art activities are being incorporated into the curriculum in ALL its facilities across the state! Every Georgia facility will be using art in the classroom to help improve student’s academic performance and self-esteem. The Emanuel Project transforms facilities and has a long lasting impact among students, staff, families and communities.

“The opportunity to participate in the Emanuel Project and connect their talents with an individual with the artistic ability and life history of Emanuel Martinez has a lasting impact on how these young men see themselves and their world. They begin to realize their potential – that they have much to contribute to their community. Emanuel has opened doors for them to peer through and see a better future.” Michael A. Martinez Deputy Chief – Institutions Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department San Antonio, TX

“The art supplies have been a tremendous benefit to our clients who are otherwise silent and withdrawn and do not participate well in talk therapy. Our clients are able to give expression to their thoughts and feelings through art that would otherwise remain stagnated inside. Simply being a part of the Emanuel Project has brought a new, exciting, creative focus to our counseling and treatment program as we witness the clients’ positive reaction to creating art.
Jana Marlow, LCSW
Advent Home Learning Center

This project has been one of the most influential and inspirational experiences of my life. When I first heard of an artist coming to do a mural, I thought he was just some guy coming to teach us how to draw different things. I didn’t know a mural was a serious art project, or that I would be working side by side with one of the most honored and distinguished artists of our generation.

About three months ago I was in a very hard time of my life. I felt I had no meaning, reason, or hope for my future. I was in and out of segregation for fighting and deliberately disregarding everything that anyone said to try and help me. I truly felt alone in the world. There was nothing left for me.

I found out that my father was out of prison and wanted me to come and live with him. At that point I finally saw a light at the end of a long and progressively destructive tunnel. After that, I almost did a complete one eighty. If it had not been for that drastic turnaround, I would not have been able to participate in this project.

A lot of people have told me about people like myself who have turned their lives around fast and became important people of our society, but frankly, I thought they were insane until I heard the story of Emanuel Martinez, a man who mirrored my life almost completely. He was incarcerated the first time around the same age as me and almost as many times as me. I am not big on religion, but I do believe that destiny is a word enshrouded in the most mysterious characterization. I believe a very particular series of events took place and set Emanuel in my life.

Since participating in Emanuel’s project, I have really felt the joy and passion to reach out to youth in the same situation as he was in and help to pull them out of it and get them on their feet just as a great man did for him. I want to thank Mr. Emanuel Martinez for opening my eyes to a world beyond what I was living in. I am forever grateful. Thank you for making a lasting impression on my life that I can carry with me. I know the sky is only the beginning.

Sheldon Camarillo
Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility, Logansport, Indiana