Art is considered to be a universal language. It helps bring communities of all ages, races and cultures together. That is just what Ordervision Studios, founded by Jesse Lyons and Alex Seel, is achieving right here in Rockaway.
Lyons, originally a Brooklyn native, has been living in the Rockaways for over two years now. He works at the Center for Community Alternatives as a reentry and employment specialist for troubled youth. His position helps young adults from ages 16 to 24 find alternatives to incarceration. “I go to Rikers Island twice a week and recruit kids awaiting trial and help them get into a program instead of doing time,” says Lyons. Seel, who currently lives in Brooklyn, is an artist, teacher and street photographer. Both invested in a studio located on Beach 96th Street to create art and then “we saw possibilities for power and affect,” said Seel. That’s when Ordervision Studios was developed in June of 2018. They decided to create an organization where they could help troubled youth through art. Seel says, “The system tries to destroy the determination of our inner force. We explore how art can provide a new vision for our future.”
“We are currently working with four participants making silkscreen printings and want to eventually expand,” Lyons said. Silk screen printing is a process where a mesh cloth is used to transfer ink onto a material by painting it. The current participants learn not just about art, but about teamwork, dedication and more. “They come from harsh environments and it’s nice to see them let their guard down and just be kids because that’s what they are,” Lyons said with a smile. Everyone plays a role, whether it’s making art, sales or even being a mediator; everyone takes part in the process. Daiquen Simmons, 19, one of the participants and mediator says, “It's been a learning process. It has helped me control my anger and learn how to deal with people in different ways.”
The silk screen prints are not just printed on paper, but also are done on everything from t-shirts to tote bags. In early February, Ordervison sold their work at the Valentine’s Day market held at the Rockaway Brewing Co. The artwork was a big hit. “We almost sold out,” says Lyons. They want the community to be involved and share their work with others. “We want to celebrate the possibility of art and how it can benefit the community,” Seel said. Just last week they also had a show at ESP Gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
Eliminating the stigmas and stereotypes that are given to teens and young adults that have been in bad situations is one of Ordervision’s goals. Immersing themselves back into the community after being in a correctional facility is not always an easy adjustment. “We want to make them feel comfortable and bridge the gap between them and the community,” Seel said. Eventually, they want to get more participants, not just limited to people in the program, but open to all.
They also have a vision to grow beyond the arts. In the summer, they want to possibly open a cafe or a smoothie bar. Seel’s wife, Suanny Upegui Seel, who specializes in nutrition and the healing arts, has played an important part in the program by teaching about health, meditation and environmentalism. Ordervision hopes to become more involved with the environment, through doing things like beach clean ups and utilizing recyclables for art.
Most importantly, Ordervison hopes to continue making a difference in the lives of these young adults’ lives. To check out Ordervison Studios’ artwork, visit them on Instagram @Ordervision, or to purchase a piece of your own, head to ordervisionstudios.bigcartel.com
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