Art for a New Future: National Convening 2021

Art for a New Future: Justice Arts Coalition’s 2021 National Convening 

(June 24-26, 2021 online, 11:30am – 4:30pm EST daily)

The JAC community came together for interactive and embodied art experiences, skill-sharing, and conversation. Participants learned, created, and connected, harnessing the liberatory power of the arts to reimagine justice.

Plenary 1: In Conversation with Nicole Fleetwood, Ndume Olatushani, Rachel Nelson, moderated by Sabra Williams.

Plenary 2: “Abolition is About Making Things” moderated by Mariame Kaba. Featuring Rachel Wallis, Monica Trinidad, Naima Thomas, Bianca Diaz, and Neta Bomani

Plenary 3:Poverty Scholarship: Poor People-Led Theory, Art, Words, and Tears Across Mama Earth” with Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia and POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE.

Publicly available content from the convening:

If you want to participate in a community art project created by currently incarcerated artist Carla Joan Simmons, head here. Listen to featured interviews with JAC Network artists on Soundcloud here!

We’ll be posting rotating recordings of convening sessions to this page over the coming months. Enjoy Poverty Scholarship: Poor People-Led Theory, Art, Words, and Tears Across Mama EarthDescription below.

POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE is a poor people-led/indigenous people-led, grassroots non-profit arts and organization dedicated to providing revolutionary media access, art, education and advocacy to silenced youth, adults and elders in poverty across the globe.

In 21 years of collective love and struggle, the poor, unhoused, disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, elder and youth leaders, artists, and cultural workers of POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE have shared the medicine of Poverty Scholarship. The notion of poverty scholarship was born in the calles, prisons, street corners, community centers, welfare offices, shelters, kitchen tables, assembly lines, tenements, favelas, projects, and ghettos—all the places people don’t look for educators, experts, leaders, researchers, lecturers, linguists, artists, creative thinkers, writers, and media producers. Poverty skolaz are everywhere. Art for a New Future envisions where creative expression and abolition live hand in hand, transforming how we love and heal together. POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE shared their vision for solidarity, ComeUnity Reparations, and media making in this workshop.

This session included powerful performances from Po Poets, readings from the Poverty Scholarship book (available at, teachings on poor and traumatized peoples theory, and how to hold each other through trauma into a true definition of interdependent relationships. Walking this walk among a poor and indigneous peoples-led movement means facing our demons ALL THE TIME because we all come out of collective trauma experiences of racism, wite supremacy, ablism, family violence, false borders, eviction, houselessness, criminalization, elder/child abuse, sexual violence, rape, incarceration, poLICE violence genderism, hate crimes and so much more. You will hear from poor, unhoused, disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, elder and youth leaders, artists, cultural workers of POOR Magazine/PrensaPOBRE who have practiced this work for 21 years.

POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE es una organización de base sin ánimo de lucro dedicada a proporcionar un acceso revolucionario a los medios de comunicación, al arte, a la educación y a la defensa de los jóvenes, adultos y ancianos en situación de pobreza en todo el mundo.

En 21 años de amor y lucha colectivos, los líderes, artistas y trabajadores culturales pobres, sin vivienda, discapacitados, negros, marrones, indígenas, ancianos y jóvenes de POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE han compartido la medicina de la Beca de la Pobreza. La noción de beca de la pobreza nació en las calles, las prisiones, las esquinas, los centros comunitarios, las oficinas de asistencia social, los refugios, las mesas de las cocinas, las cadenas de montaje, los conventillos, las favelas, los proyectos y los guetos, todos los lugares en los que la gente no busca educadores, expertos, líderes, investigadores, conferenciantes, lingüistas, artistas, pensadores creativos, escritores y productores de medios de comunicación. Los skolaz de la pobreza están en todas partes. Art for a New Future imagina un lugar donde la expresión creativa y la abolición vivan de la mano, transformando la forma en que amamos y sanamos juntos. POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE compartirá su visión de la solidaridad, las reparaciones de ComeUnity y la creación de medios de comunicación en este taller.

Esta sesión incluirá poderosas actuaciones de Poetas, lecturas del libro Poverty Scholarship (disponible en, enseñanzas sobre la teoría de los pobres y traumatizados, y cómo sostenernos mutuamente a través del trauma hacia una verdadera definición de relaciones interdependientes. Recorrer este camino entre un movimiento liderado por pueblos pobres e indignos significa enfrentarnos a nuestros demonios TODO EL TIEMPO porque todos salimos de experiencias de trauma colectivo de racismo, supremacía de la mujer, ablismo, violencia familiar, fronteras falsas, desahucio, falta de vivienda, criminalización, abuso de ancianos/niños, violencia sexual, violación, encarcelamiento, violencia de género poLICE, crímenes de odio y mucho más. Escucharás a líderes pobres, sin vivienda, discapacitados, negros, marrones, indígenas, ancianos y jóvenes, artistas, trabajadores culturales de POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE que han practicado este trabajo durante 21 años.

*This session will be offered with Spanish language interpretation.
*Esta sesión se ofrecerá con interpretación en Español.



View the full schedule of sessions. 

All workshops, discussions, and performances aligned with one or more of the central themes and core values of Art for a New Future:

  • Art as Abolition: the arts as a pathway for communities to imagine and build worlds beyond policing and incarceration; art as a tool for advocacy, nurturing community.
  • Art for All: increasing access to creative opportunities within carceral institutions; pedagogy; funding; trauma-informed arts education.
  • Solidarity and Community: building and nourishing connections and resilient relationships across our network.
  • Participatory learning: learning through and within community, through embodiment, through creative practice; artistic practice as a tool for healing, growth, connection, and fueling our radical imaginations.

Missed JAC’s Art for a New Future: 2021 National Convening?

Thank you to everyone who attended Art For A New Future! If you happened to miss it but are interested in watching the recordings of the sessions, the JAC team has put together an opportunity for donors to gain access to the entire collection of over 30 recordings of workshop, performance, and panel discussions by donating $50 or more by August 30th.

Art For A New Future Spotify Playlist Available Now: Thank you to everyone who submitted songs through our Whova request to create this Spotify playlist. A representation of the community felt during the Art For A New Future convening, this playlist was created for and by you! If you did not get a chance to submit a song, you can do so by sending us the name of the song and artist here. Happy listening!

Read our blog reflecting on the convening here.

It was essential to our values and mission that every effort was made for the convening to be as accessible and inclusive as possible. We are so grateful to HEARD DCPro Bono ASL, and Gloria Delgadillo, L. Miller, and Pao Lebron for helping us move toward full accessibility by providing ASL and Spanish language interpretation!

Thank you to the Convening Planning Team: Wendy Jason, Robin McNulty, Katie Adams, Jessie Glover, Kate Stank, Kanyinsola Anifowoshe, Page Dukes, Katherine Frost, Melissa Wang, Alden Eckman, Hunter Isenstein, Richael Faithful, Elida Ledesma, and Jojo Donovan. Thank you to all the speakers, facilitators, and panelists for their incredible sessions. And thank you, of course, to all of the attendees and supporters who make this work possible!