Blue Jacket ‘Second Chances Art Exhibit’ opens May 18

Twelve Fort Wayne-area artists will be paired with graduates from the Blue Jacket Career Academy program and their work will be displayed at the 4th annual Second Chances Art Exhibit, which opens May 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the University of Saint Francis at the Ian and Mimi Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center’s Weatherhead Gallery.

Goal of the event is to exhibit real stories of the trials, failures, and successes of Blue Jacket clients and how they are overcoming their barriers to employment and in life. These stories are told through a variety of mediums and will be featured at Saint Francis through May 30.

“I love taking people’s ideas and stories and creating custom works of art with them,” Jordan Kurzen, a local artist, said in a statement. “My client has an amazing hopeful face and I can’t wait to do, hopefully, his story justice. To take that hope, in his story and put it onto paper and see what comes of it.”

The Second Chances Art Exhibit and Fundraiser is a collaboration between The University of Saint Francis and Blue Jacket Inc., 2826 South Calhoun St. Artists from the Fort Wayne area were paired with Blue Jacket graduates to create artwork to tell the graduate’s stories of triumph.

For Blue Jacket graduate Michael Carew, his was a success story that needed to be told. “I’m hoping these art pieces will give hope to people to never give up, to continue to fight for a better life,” he stated. Carew graduated from the Career Academy in 2014.

Blue Jacket made an impact in the life of 2008 graduate Jennifer Crickmore as well.

“People are getting to know Blue Jacket and its mission,” stated Crickmore. “Yes it’s a fundraiser, but it’s more than that. It’s a great way to connect the community with a very important organization. Blue Jacket is very important in our community. This art exhibit is very important. And I’m just honored to be a part of it.”

Blue Jacket Career Academy is a two-week, 40-hour training program in which Blue Jacket provides job-readiness training to those with barriers to employment. Following graduation from the program, Blue Jacket provides transitional jobs, job placement, and pre- and post-placement services including education, skills and interest assessments, and personal and professional development.

For more information on the organization, visit Blue Jacket’s website at bluejacketinc.org. For information on the upcoming exhibit, follow the Blue Jacket facebook page.

Local artists participating include:

• Matt Plett

• Morgan Bogart

• Alexandra Hall

• Jaclyn Hofstetter

• Jorden Kurzen

• Valerie McBride

• Jeremy and Erin McFarren

• Bryant Rozier

• Monica Meler

• Jeremy Stroup

• Theresa Thompson

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