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The future looks bright 

Springs program teaches teens to be somebody, or be somebody's fool

click to enlarge FutureSelf artists are blinded by bright, well, futures.
  • FutureSelf artists are blinded by bright, well, futures.

When I meet Erin Jones, I'm immediately struck by her appearance. She's got freckles on a sweet face, big brown eyes and purple hair with electric blue streaks. She's not a rock star. She's a FutureSelf artist.

FutureSelf is a program designed to help teens survive adolescence by introducing them to art.

Another FutureSelf artist, Rebecca Moreland, explains how FutureSelf helped her connect: "Before FutureSelf, I just hated having no life because that's how my middle school was. At school you can't connect with people. At FutureSelf there is always someone to connect with, always someone safe."

Amber Cote, FutureSelf program director, explains the agency's work: "You're totally vulnerable when you're creating. When [the young artists] realize they're accepted on that intimate level, being real honest about what they're feeling with the art when the kids applaud them, tell them it's beautiful that's where it's safe."

Most of the kids didn't have any direction before joining the program, but now all of the artists aspire for a full-blown career in art. FutureSelf doesn't just provide them with a sense of community. The program familiarizes the artists with a variety of mediums that include oil painting, glass blowing, encaustic and bronze sculpting. As part of their upcoming FutureSelf Celebration Art Show, Cote took the artists to galleries in Denver to show them how professional galleries hang their art.

The Celebration show presents pieces done throughout the past year, and also promises a five-year retrospective for some of the artists, who have truly learned how to avoid being "somebody's fool."

Sixth annual FutureSelf Celebration Art ShowSmokebrush Gallery and Foundation for the Arts, 218 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 102

Opening reception: Friday, Jan. 5, 5-8 p.m.; show runs through Jan. 24

Call 444-1012 or visit smokebrush.org for venue information. Call 685-1861 or visit futureself.org for more information on FutureSelf.

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