By Tiffany Razzano
Carrie Boucher didn’t know what to expect the first time she set foot inside Pinellas County’s Juvenile Detention Center in Clearwater.
The Seminole resident brought her NOMADstudio, a traveling art bus that provides art supplies and lessons to underserved youth throughout the Tampa Bay region, to the facility May 1 as part of Good Moves: A Caravan of Sharing. She was joined by other mobile nonprofit organizations, including Bluebird Book Bus, Bess the Book Bus, Boards for Bros, Road to Artdom and Giving Tree Music.
While there, out of curiosity, Boucher began asking questions about the children’s daily routine at the detention center.
“What are they doing in school?” she asked. “What does their day look like? What kind of free-time activities do they do? Do they have time and space for a creative outlet?”
She learned that while Pinellas County Schools provides daily general education classes, students in the detention center aren’t offered special programs, such as visual arts, music or theater.
“We saw that gap, and our organization’s mission is about finding those gaps and filling those gaps,” Boucher said.
At the time, she didn’t realize that NOMAD would be the one to fill that gap, though. She thought the organization might simply serve as a conduit for bringing an art instructor to the facility. But four months later, on Sept. 6, she launched Justice Studio, a weekly after-school art program for children at the Juvenile Detention Center organized by NOMAD.