Arts & Justice Events Across the US

Please write to if you have an event for us to share! 

Events can also be found on our Google calendar.

Free Verse: Bringing Writing & Art Classes to Montana’s Incarcerated Youth

Thu, May 19, 2022

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

The Free Verse model has brought virtual and in-person creative writing and arts classes to youth in Montana’s juvenile detention centers since 2014 and currently provides workshops in six facilities across the state. Executive director Nicole Gomez will give an overview of the Free Verse approach, which includes an emphasis on creativity and trauma-informed principles of choice, mindfulness, and representation. The presentation will include a look at student writing and artwork that have come out of these workshops and have been in print or on exhibit throughout the state. The presentation will be followed by a round table discussion about the model and a Q&A with Free Verse teachers and partners from the juvenile detention centers. 

Register here


Justice Dance Performance Project Emergence 2 Film Screening

Wed, May 25, 2022

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

Emergence 2 is JDPP’s newest site-specific dance theater performance, filmed Oct. 9-10, 2021 on location at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford CT. Performed in gardens that Stowe called “a place of healing for the soul,” Emergence 2 is inspired by writing, dance, and song developed in residencies at York Correctional Institution for Women over the past 17 years. Emergence 2 travels through the grounds of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and lands at the Solitary Garden installation by artist jackie sumell which transforms the dimensions of a solitary confinement cell into a garden of nurturing and healing. Performed by members of the JDPP Ensemble and women and men who have returned to the community from prison, they tell a tale through dance, spoken word and song of confinement and transformation and what it means to emerge from prison.

“I want everyone I know to see, hear, watch and understand more about the individuals who experience confinement. Their stories are incredibly moving and brought to life via song, spoken word and movement in stunning ways via Emergence.” -Audience member

Register here. 


Create + Connect: Becoming a Citizen Again with Kenneth Reams, Episode II

Thu, May 26, 2022

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

Becoming a Citizen Again is a series of discussions where people formerly held on death row share their stories about returning to society and becoming a citizen again, after decades of incarceration. Each hour-length episode will explore what their reentry experience has been like and the role art has played in their journey. Join host Kenneth Reams and guest Calvin Porter for episode two of the series. 

Register here. 


Busboys and Poets Brookland

April 10th – September 11th
Washington, DC

Busboys and Poets comes together with Justice Arts Coalition to present a collection of works created by inside Artists who have close ties to the DC area. Busboys and Poets is a restaurant, bookstore, community gathering place, and cultural hub, which has quickly established itself as a District mainstay dedicated to providing a place for deliberate pause, where one can feed their mind, body and soul. Stop by for a bite and view the artwork of JAC Network Artists Greg BoldenConor BroderickHarry Ellis, and KID WITH DA CRAYONS KW/DC.


Degrees of Separation

May 1st – May 22nd
Catonsville, MD

Opening on May 1st, Degrees of Separation explores the relationship that proximity and spatial relation have with an individual’s ability to understand, experience, and engage. Just as physical distance changes one’s perspective regarding a piece of artwork, so is one’s understanding of the carceral system shaped by their proximity to a person impacted by the system. Utilizing the Baltimore County Arts Guild gallery’s unique space, the exhibit challenges each viewer’s engagement with the art. JAC hopes that this experience with the art will challenge viewers to examine their own understanding of incarceration.

Join us for the opening reception! 

Sun, May 15, 2022

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT

This reception will include live viewings of the artwork, recordings of artist interviews and artist talks, as well as refreshments.


Ex Crucible: The Passion of Incarcerated Artists Book Talk with Peter Merts

Wed, May 11, 2022

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

Peter Merts is a photographer residing near San Francisco, California. For the past 15 years he has been photographing art classes in California’s adult state prisons; the images have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Economist, The Guardian, and HufPost. He is in the process of publishing a monograph of his photos of incarcerated artists, and is raising funds for that effort through a kickstarter campaign. Merts’ book includes essay by Merts; Annie Buckley, the founder/director of the Prison Arts Collective; and by two writers who are currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison—“Brothers in Pen” Rahsaan Thomas and Kevin Sawyer.

Register for the event here


Iron City Magazine + Poetry for the People Writing Workshop

Saturdays April 9-May 28, 2022

11am-12:30pm MST/PST, 2-3:30pm EDT

How might the language we find and create together carry us toward more just and lively futures? In this 8-week workshop, we will explore the political possibilities of poetry, and imagine new ways of telling the stories we carry. Every week we will engage in rigorous study of craft and generative writing activities that will encourage risk-taking and precision of language. By the end of the workshop series, each poet will revise an original piece to be included in an anthology, submitted to Iron City Magazine, and performed at our final celebratory reading. Open to formerly incarcerated people and family/friends of current/formerly incarcerated people. There are 30 workshop seats available on a first come, first serve basis. Facilitated by graduate students from the Arizona State University MFA in Creative Writing Program.

On Zoom. Register here by April 2 to receive the link for all workshops.


2022 Day of Empathy: National Summit

Tue, April 5, 2022
6:00 – 8:30 PM EDT

Dream Corps JUSTICE will be hosting their sixth annual Day of Empathy on April 5th at The National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Join them as they turn empathy into action in partnership with our Empathy Network, a coalition of system impacted reform advocates.

The pre-event reception (6pm-6:30pm) will include an art auction featuring incarcerated artists. The reception will also feature an empathy-building, virtual reality experience designed to replicate the experience of incarceration. The main program (6:30-8:30pm) will highlight innovative solutions to our nation’s mass incarceration crisis. ROC Nation and Jamla Records hip hop artist Reuben Vincent will also perform live. The evening will conclude with a DJ set and reception from 8:30pm-10pm. 

Register here


Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration

April 22 – August 7, 2022
Cincinnati, OH

Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration  will be opening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati on April 22. 

Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration explores the impact of the US prison system through contemporary visual art. Through the work of artists who are or have been incarcerated alongside artists who have not, the exhibition reveals how punitive governance, predatory policing, surveillance and mass imprisonment impacts millions of people.

Marking Time features work by over 30 artists, including JAC network artists Cedar Annenkova, Conor Broderick, Gary Harrell, William B. Livingston III, Jesse Osmun, Billy Sell, James Sepesi, and collaborator Aimee Wissman.


Included with general admission.
Buy your tickets here.


Monkey: A Kung Fu Parable

Coming soon 2022

A new look at old Monkey, the greatest quest hero from ancient times

With his comrades-in-arms, Zhu, a heavenly Marshall reincarnated into a Pig for his evil, gluttonous ways, and Sha, once a princess, now a sand monster who devours unwary travellers, this unlikely trio journeys west. They become disciples and protectors of the Monk sent by Buddha to retrieve the holy Sutras in the hopes that this journey will bring each of them their own personal salvation. An ancient Wizard of Oz tale for our times.


Undoing Time: Art and Histories of Incarceration 

“Undoing Time: Art and Histories of Incarceration” considers the foundational roots of confinement from an art historical perspective to better understand the fact that today’s mass incarceration crisis is centuries in the making. The exhibition explores how images throughout time contribute to entrenched cultural beliefs associated with today’s carceral system. The exhibition includes 12 never-before-seen, commissioned artworks from contemporary artists whose work combines history, research and storytelling in material form. Miki Garcia, director of the ASU Art Museum, says, “This exhibition was inspired by filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s strategy in her documentary “13th,” which uses history as a lens to understand present-day phenomena and as a way to trace how legacies of the past persist to this day.”

“Undoing Time” opens at the ASU Art Museum Sept. 1. 

Associated Public Programs:

All programming is free and open to the public. Please RSVP for each program you are interested in attending. 

Nov. 13, 2021

We Occupy/We Dis-cover

1–4 pm MST; 3 – 7 pm EST. ASU Art Museum. 

Gregory Sale, associate professor in the School of Art, and Julio César Morales, senior curator at ASU Art Museum

In response to and part of the exhibition, a group of community justice scholars, artists and ASU graduate students will take over the museum to unseat, dis-locate and de-center notions of safety, imprisonment and control. Visit us and participate in a day of interventions, conversations and performances. After engaging in this transformative community work focused on mass incarceration, participants will leave with full hearts and minds. Organizers of this event are enrolled in ASU School of Art’s Art and Justice course, (ARA 591) taught by Gregory Sale and Julio César Morales.

Jan. 20, 2022

“Undoing Time” Roundtable 

6 pm MST; 8 pm EST. ASU Art Museum. Or attend virtually.

Natalie Diaz, Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Associate Professor

Stay tuned for more information.

Feb. 3, 2022

Undoing Time Roundtable: Critical Witnessing

6 pm MST; 8 pm EST. ASU Art Museum. Or attend virtually.

Vice Provost and Professor Tiffany Lopez

Join Vice Provost and Professor Tiffany Lopez in a roundtable discussion about “critical witnessing.” This is a term Dr. Lopez coined to describe the process of stepping into a space of personal and/or social transformation as the direct result of experiencing a work of art that clarifies that one is part of the continuum of the work. Critical witnessing is the experience of seeing a work of art and realizing you do not want to directly participate in or indirectly perpetuate the history of violence and trauma in an artwork. The experience of the work brings a shift from passive viewer to active witness with critical awareness, emerging toward a path of change.

Feb. 8, 2022

Dreaming Beyond the Carceral State

6 pm MST; 8 pm EST Virtual. 

Ashley Hunt and Juan Brenner with organizers from Mass Liberation

What would it look like to live in a world without prisons? Join artists Ashley Hunt and Juan Brenner, with organizers from Mass Liberation, for a public conversation considering possibilities for justice and fairness that do not include a prison system.

This program is organized in collaboration with the ASU Art Museum, Performance in the Borderlands, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and Social Transformation Lab.


25th Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners

The Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners is one of the largest exhibitions of art by incarcerated artists in the country. Each year, faculty, staff and students from the University of Michigan travel to correctional facilities across Michigan and select work for the exhibition while providing feedback and critique that strengthens artist’s work and builds community around art making inside prisons.


Meet Us Quickly: Painting for Justice from Prison

A Digital Exhibition

Museum of the African Diaspora is proud to present Meet Us Quickly: Painting for Justice from Prison, an exhibition of the work of twelve artists incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. The twenty-one works in the exhibition include linocut prints, acrylic paintings, ink drawings on paper, and collage and are organized and curated by Prison Renaissance co-founder Rahsaan “New York” Thomas. Eclectic in influence, certain works in this exhibition nod to pointillism and neo-constructivism while others honor the importance of Aaron Douglas and the Harlem Renaissance. These artists maintain significant artistic practices spanning diverse techniques and subjects. The works are presented with accompanying statements written by each artist, allowing these incarcerated men to speak for themselves and share their vision and perspectives in their own words.


Chosen Family: Marking Time Artist Talks with Mary Baxter

Every other Thursday through April 1, 12 p.m. EST

2021 means something new. We invited artist Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter to host a series of online conversations with her fellow artists in Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration. These lunchtime chats bring a wide range of voices into dialogue to consider how bonds are forged through and around creative practice in the face of state-imposed separation.

This Thursday, January 7, Baxter will be in discussion with artists Jesse Krimes, Jared Owens, and Gilberto Rivera, who formed a deep friendship centered by their art practice while incarcerated.


Amplify Music’s weekly live-streamed concert – Amplify TV

AmplifyTV is a safe, inclusive space for live-streamed music in the face of a global pandemic and beyond. We emphasize booking musicians with prior justice involvement. Following each show, a video recording is sent to juvenile facilities around Virginia. Shows are publicly live-streamed each Thursday at 8pm. A donation of $10 is encouraged and all earnings from each show will be divided between Amplify Music and the performer(s).

Amplify Music is hosting weekly livestreamed concerts through Amplify TV and they are looking for performers, especially individuals who were formerly incarcerated. These are free events, and donations received during the concert are split between the performers and Amplify Music! Please sign-up through this form. 


Drama Therapy Group

Thursdays ongoing: February 18, March 18, April 15, May 20

9:30 AM-10:30 AM, Zoom, Free of Charge

You are invited to a Drama Therapy Group for the Formerly Incarcerated that will be ongoing on every third Thursday of the month. When you RSVP, you will get the zoom link to join. We are a group of Drama Therapists who have been meeting every week for several months as a way of staying connected, educating ourselves, and coming up with opportunities for ongoing work. We are hoping to collaborate with the many incredible people who have re-entered and are interested in continuing to go deeper with theatrical, creative work both for personal connection, healing, and workshopping their own ideas. Our goal is to share freely, play, and to go in a direction that the group as a whole wishes to go – the possibilities are endless.
Please join any week you can. You don’t have to commit to every group or month. Please share with any formerly incarcerated peers. We are eager to meet new people as well.
We look forward to sharing this time together!
Led by Drama Therapists: Kamran Afary, Elizabeth Malone Alteet, Lynn Baker-Nauman, and Marianne Shine.
RSVP to for Zoom link and details. 


Stun & Run: Women’s Self Defense

Sun, Apr 25 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Want to remove the word VICTIM from your vocabulary? Then sign up for STUN & RUN- a workshop designed exclusively for women who want to learn what they can do to protect themselves on an everyday basis. Created by Master Dora King, one of the highest ranking women martial artists in the country, this workshop will give you the tools to make self defense a way of life. The workshop will include both practice of blocks and defensive techniques as well as discussion of vital spots and striking points.

This workshop is open to girls and women of all ages. Wear comfortable clothing.

Meet the Instructor:
Master Dora King is a 7th degree Black Belt with King Karate and has trained in the martial arts for 35 years. She is the Director of Youth Karate-Ka Association; a non-profit which provides at risk youth an opportunity to train in the martial arts and healthy life choices. She also Co-Founded the Harvesting Earth Educational Farm designed to introduce local, organic food as a part of our healthy life choices. Dora founded the Stun & Run Self Defense system in an effort to offer females an opportunity to train with other females in a safe and supportive atmosphere.


Cosmic Cowboy

Spring 2022
Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage Boston

You are the lone cowboy Silhouetted against your comet’s fiery tail Riding the endless cosmos Into the deepest darkness.

Inspired by the historic landing of the space probe Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Cosmic Cowboy explores the origins of the universe beginning at the Big Bang when the universe is formed by the mating of the Sumerian gods, Tiamat and Apsu. It traverses the mystery of time and space, through wormholes, black holes and alternate universes, until it comes full circle into the ultimate mystery – the human heart. Tia, Tiamat’s daughter, befriends the robotic probe and together, they confront the Astronaut from the spaceship Mayflower sent to retrieve the robot and to capture Tia, the first extra-terrestial known to us.