A local artist has left his mark on the Tuscaloosa County Juvenile Detention Center as well as those inside .

Dewon Moton may be from Akron, Alabama, but his art has taken him and hundreds of others to places much farther away.

Now, he’s brought his talents back home to make a difference to those who need hope the most.

You may think of a juvenile detention center as a scary place, but inside the Tuscaloosa County location,an oasis has come to life in the student’s recreation area.

Dewon Moton spent hours on hours with the boys and girls sent to juvenile detention, crafting murals with meaningful messages.

“Working with these guys and getting to know another crowd, that’s what the world is about, connecting with people,” Moton told WVUA 23 News Reporter Chelsea Barton. “I feel like this is connecting with people who need it.”

The themes, chosen and inspired by the students, range from hope, to growth, to success.

“Keep pushing. You can do what you want if you put your mind to it,” 17-year-old K.D. said.

He’s  been sent to Tuscaloosa County Juvenile Detention center six times.

” I am getting older. They aren’t going to play with me anymore,” he said.  “I am getting grown, so I have grown man opportunities. I have got to take life more seriously.”

C.H. is also 17 and said Dewon’s artwork in the welding room at the juvenile detention center has inspired him to enhance his craft so he can live his dream outside of the walls.

“I have a bunch of support here and a bunch of people who want me to do well,” C.H. said.  “Hopefully, when I get out of here I can be a successful welder.”

Although Dewon Moton will soon leave the detention center, his artwork will remain for years to come. He hopes the murals’ meanings will continue to inspire the boys and girls to get back on the right paths in life.

“I hope they can take these things with them when they get out of here and maybe try it somewhere else and see if they can start building opportunities here for themselves,” Moton said.  “Boredom is really what can get you here. It gives them direction like hey. I can build something myself no matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be a piece of artwork on a wall. You can build from the bottom up,” Moton added.

“Have the students here taught you anything?” Barton asked Moton.

“Oh yes,” he responded. “A lot of things. Like empathy. sympathy, being grateful. They are just good people,” Moton exclaimed.

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