The Breakthrough Project for Social Justice was first created in 1998 on February 5th, after a burning cross and racial epithets were found spray-painted at Tokay High School. Members of the community felt compelled to form a group in Lodi aimed at speaking out against racism, and bigotry by celebrating diversity and promoting a greater understanding and tolerance of the wonderfully diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural groups in our community.
Since it’s conception in 1998, the group has taken an initiative with the Lodi Police Department to work as liaisons between the police department and members of the community who are victims of hate crimes. The Project now serves Lodi and the surrounding area by reaching out with compassion and sympathy to victims of hate crimes and working to prevent future hate crimes.
The central aim of Breakthrough Project for Social Justice has been to spread the message of peace and unity, by recognizing and appreciating the towns diversity, and truly making Lodi lovable and livable for all.
Breakthrough Project offers three art scholarships to high school students that take part in the competition. The scholarships are held in honor of David Hill, an original founder of the Breakthrough Project. The theme of the competitive pieces differs every year however, stays in stride with breakthroughs core values. Students that compete in the competition are encouraged to submit an original artistic piece of any medium that fits the submission guidelines. There, a selection committee votes on the piece whose artistic merit, best fits the theme selected.
April 2022 Featured Artists
Jesse Joon Collection
Jess McKelvey is a Lodi local who enjoys creating a variety of things to spread joy. She most recently designs with acrylics, but has dabbled in watercolor, costume design, and other mixed media. She loves to come up with new uses for items and is known to host immersive events with ambitious themes.
During months of pandemic isolation, Jess found inspiration to create art by painting old and worn furniture in her own home to bring more brightness and color to her family’s everyday life. Her whimsical pieces became very popular amongst her friends and family and she was encouraged to create more and more. To find inspiration, Jess looked to the vast array of online painting tutorials and found it calming to have a guide.
Inspired by childlike wonder, the Jesse Joon Collection is a representation of life’s renewable beauty, and the value in community support. Each one of a kind piece is finished with materials that have been locally sourced through secondhand options. Small flaws, noticeable cosmetic repairs and other signs of use are welcome aspects of each artwork.
Much of the Jesse Joon Collection’s images include original designs by “The Art Sherpa” Cinnamon Cooney (www.theartsherpa.com), a renowned instructor with hundreds of free painting classes. It is with enthusiastic permission that Jess uses Cinnamon’s designs in her larger concepts.
Jess hopes that these curiosities find themselves used again and nestled in places where wonder is welcome.
Follow this project and others on Instagram: jeslexica.art