Local youth showcases P1 philosophy through art

Garnel Williams, 16, stands by the bench he made for P1 Group. P1 Group was a sponsor of the Van Go Benchmark series, which gives at-risk teens the opportunity to create permanent, public works of art and develop life skills.

When P1 Group first asked 16-year-old Garnel Williams to paint a bench that fully represents the company, P1 knew it wouldn’t be an easy task. The P1 Group tradition is a very rich and complex one. Comprised of five major founding companies, P1 performs a multitude of trades for various industries around the nation. The company is also committed to operating by several business principles. To package all those ideas together into an aesthetically pleasing and cohesive whole presents a difficult challenge.

For Williams, it was certainly a tall order, but nothing that wasn’t within his reach. Williams is a participant of Van Go, an arts-based social service agency that provides year-round after-school and summer job training to high-needs and under-served youth, ages 14-21.

Williams’ bench has no shortage of detail. It took him a full month to complete the project. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Fueled with plenty of determination and creative juices, Williams took every advantage of the opportunity he created for himself and worked diligently for five and a half hours a day for 30 days. Layer after layer of paint and touch-up after touch-up, he pushed himself to create a work of art that he could truly call his own. Even the job opportunity itself was a result of William’s own undertaking. It was he who urged his mom for a ride to pick up the job application that started the process.

On July 23, Williams unveiled his bench at the Van Go facility to the delight of a packed gallery.

“He nailed it,” Liz Lyon, P1 Group receptionist, said. “This is absolutely wonderful.”

Williams’ bench, entitled “Wisdom, Honesty and Color,” features many creative elements such as using a wrench as the “1” in “P1.” He also blended water flowing from a pipe with the hair of a construction worker, in addition to making electrical wires plug into the head of a worker to represent brain power. On a deeper level, the shaking of hands and multi-colored faces stir up ideas of honesty, diversity and the foundation of P1 Group. Themes of energy efficiency, safety and geographic reach are also reflected.

P1 Group associates weren’t the only ones ecstatic about the final product. Williams’ mother attended the event and became teary-eyed after seeing her son’s potential.

His bench may be a positive landmark for all who see it, but Williams seems to have received perhaps the biggest reward.

“I’m doing something I like and I’m having fun. Making my bench has made me feel successful. When I paint, I am happy, calm, cool and collected,” Williams wrote in his artist statement.

P1 Group will proudly display the bench at its Lawrence office in the main lobby area.

  1. Garnel did an awesome job. Working for a company with such a diverse list of services and a varied background, I know it is difficult to explain what P1 Group is/means. I think he illustrated it beautifully, capturing many facets of the organization with wonderful symbolism and creativity. Great job, Garnel.

  2. Garnel,
    The bench is a beautiful work of art. You should be very proud. I love the way you integrated all aspects of our company. Your use of color and design are dazzling! Thank you for doing such a great job and good luck to you in the future.

  3. This is just a beautiful and awe-inspiring piece of work. Garnel, thank you so much for creating and implementing what you saw in P1 Group. I’m very happy to know that art brings you happiness and positivity. Keep up the great work and I look forward to hearing your name mentioned as one of the new up and coming artists. Thank you again. It really is breathtaking.

  4. Capturing the P1 experience all at one time is a huge feat, which makes it such a privilege to be able to accept something like this from you, Garnel. P1 is so proud to be able to display your artwork at our facility. We know you put so much time, effort, and creativity into creating this for us…and it is amazing. We hope you continue creating your visions and artwork in the future, as we know you will do great!

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