Our Team

 

Wendy Jason, Founder/Co-Director

Wendy is a community builder and advocate who combines her background in restorative practices, mental health, and education with her passion for the arts to foster vibrant, inclusive, and nurturing communities that model and promote social justice. She has been in close relationship and/or working in different capacities with currently and formerly incarcerated people for over 25 years. Wendy holds a BA in Sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University, studied Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, and completed her MA in Coexistence and Conflict through Brandeis University’s Alan B. Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence. Her research focused on the intersection of the arts and peacebuilding and culminated in a thesis based on a year spent facilitating creative writing and peace education groups within a county jail. Wendy has taught courses on social justice and conflict transformation in Georgetown University’s Program on Justice and Peace, researched and reported on issues related to restorative justice and the arts for Change.org, and served as the manager of the Prison Arts Coalition website for nine years. In 2019, she founded the Justice Arts Coalition (JAC). Wendy is committed to supporting both individual and social change by cultivating relationships grounded in collaboration, trust, authenticity, empathy, and integrity.

Connect with Wendy at wendy@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Freddy Guiterrez, Co-Director

Freddy Gutierrez is a proud Chicano Boricua, cultural advocate, poet, and papa- an innovative director with far-reaching experience in facilitating project-based, equity driven cultural development. He is well-versed in creating opportunities in support of those who have been pushed to the margins, having spent over 15 years facilitating writing and performance arts spaces with men and youth who are policed, imprisoned, and marginalized by the prison-industrial complex. Most notably as a co-founder of the Artistic Ensemble at San Quentin State Prison, which is a rigorous, production-based creative practice at San Quentin State Prison where participants hone performance tools in exploring personal journey and the intersection of systemic forces such as poverty, violence, authority, and incarceration. This work has allowed Freddy to build bridges between the Bay Area and the United Kingdom, having created projects abroad in prisons in England and Wales, and earned a residency at the prestigious Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA.

Freddy’s written work has been published by The Puerto Rico Review, Nomadic Press, University of Houston’s Arte Publico Press, and The Acentos Review; and was featured as LoWriter of the Week selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

Providing access to the arts and using the arts to bolster agency of voice are central to Freddy’s personal mission and the role he holds with JAC. He is particularly vested in exploring the intersection of art and restoration by employing creative storytelling as a catalyst for personal transformation and social connection for artists and their audience.

Connect with Freddy at freddy@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Jayme Epstein, Volunteer Coordinator + Advisor to ArtConnects Team Interns

Jayme found JAC while looking for ways to contribute toward the transformation of the carceral system in the United States and now cherishes the opportunity to correspond with incarcerated artists and share their work with the broader public as a way to showcase their dignity, humanity and talent. Jayme practiced law for 12 years and then worked primarily for two non-profit organizations: first, as the volunteer coordinator and program director for Yachad, Inc., which recruits volunteers and builders to rehabilitate the homes of lower income Washington, D.C. residents; and second, as a language arts and social studies teacher at Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School. Currently, she is the Volunteer Services Associate for Christ House, a medical respite facility for men experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. When not working or volunteering with JAC, Jayme  volunteers with political campaigns and with organizations doing anti-racist education and advocacy work.  She is a member of the Tikkun Olam Commission and the Jews of Color and Allies Advisory Group of Reconstructing Judaism, and is the co-chair of the DC Leadership Council of Jews United for Justice. 

Connect with Jayme at jayme@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Cat Quinlan, Communications + Network Engagement

Cat discovered JAC at the Iron Cages exhibit at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, DC, in January 2020, and she quickly realized she’d stumbled upon the opportunity she had been seeking to merge her two passions – a deep appreciation for the arts and a passion for racial equity and social justice. Her personal experiences have taught her the empowering capability that the arts have to transform a situation, bring healing and shift one’s perspective. As the carceral system touches every part of our society and disproportionately affects Black, Brown, and Indigienous people, Cat sees the unifying power of the arts as an impactful tool to break down barriers that white supremacy and the carceral state reinforce and create. Her drive to end America’s cycle of systemic violence focuses on efforts of working to build relationships with people already affected by the system, learning from their stories, and centering their experiences as a guide in dismantling it. By championing the arts as an avenue for social change, Cat believes we can amplify the voices of artists who have been marginalized by the system to build a safer and more equitable society. 

Previously, Cat served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) in Northern Virginia. She also volunteers as a tutor for elementary age children in the District through the tutoring program at Horton’s Kids’, a DC nonprofit.

Connect with Cat at cat@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Robin McNulty, Advisor to Web Team Interns

Robin McNulty is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and nonprofit administrator who has exhibited and performed throughout North America, and has taught art inside six California state prisons. She is the recipient of research grants through universities and community based organizations, and is currently a Teaching Artist with Project PAINT, a program that brings multidisciplinary art classes to people who are incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and Centinela State Prison outside of San Diego, CA.

Robin is currently a grant writer for Family Health Centers of San Diego, an organization that provides services to uninsured, low-incomes and medically underserved persons. Previously, she was Deputy Director of Prison Arts Collective at San Diego State University, and worked in development at Second Chance, a nonprofit organization that helps justice-involved youth and adults achieve self-sufficiency. Robin is also a member of the Transformative In-Prison Workgroup (TPW), a coalition that advocates for rehabilitative in-prison programming, San Diego Reentry Roundtable, the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership’s Integrated Health committee, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

She received a Master of Fine Arts from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia.

Connect with Robin at robin@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Iris Lin, ArtConnects Intern

Iris Lin is currently a freshman at University of California San Diego, studying Ethnic Studies and Cognitive Science. They enjoy listening to neosoul, jazz, and playing trumpet. Iris is passionate about advocacy through art, and their past work includes working with the Student Voices Campaign and Create CA (formerly California Alliance for Arts Education) to improve accessible arts education. Iris hopes to become a lawyer in the future to change and restore our criminal justice system. Although they are a new member on the ArtConnects team, they look forward to creating impactful work with JAC!

Iris can be reached at iris@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Katherine Frost, Events Intern

Katherine Frost is a senior at Manhattanville College majoring in Art History and English Literature. She grew up in White Plains, NY–only about thirty minutes north of Manhattan. She was drawn to JAC because of her deep interest in the blending of art and social justice. She is working primarily with the Events Team expanding her love for planning social gatherings and bringing people together. In her free time, Katherine enjoys watching live music, reading fiction novels and writing poetry. She wants to continue her work combining the arts with social justice, moving forward with breaking the boundaries of curation and building the relationship between curator, artist and justice.  

Katherine can be reached at katherine@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Janie Ritter, Events Intern

Janie Ritter, a native Northern Virginian, received her BAs in Psychology and Art History from George Mason University. While in school, Janie combined psychology and art together to investigate the motivations and patterns of behavior of both artists and art audience, focusing specifically on audience engagement and interaction with art, questioning what an individual brings to an artwork and what they in turn receive from it. Currently working on the Events Team, Janie discovered JAC through her continued passion in bringing the arts into social justice spaces. She hopes to use her time with JAC to continue to use art to bridge the gap between those affected by mass incarceration and the general public. In her spare time, Janie also enjoys reading, dancing, and rock climbing.

Janie can be reached at janie@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Maia Pramuk, ArtConnects Intern

Maia Pramuk, a member of the ArtConnects team, is currently taking time off from studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she’s pursuing a BA in visual and critical studies. Growing up outside of the D.C. area, access to free and public museums were always only a train ride away.  She credits this early exposure to the power of creative spaces as the root of her desire to explore how artist and viewer can be brought closer together through collaborative environments and active communication.

Maia can be reached at maia@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Clare Walker, Web Intern

Clare Walker will be joining the Web Team as a new fall 2021 intern. Originally from Washington, D.C., Clare is now a senior at Tufts University where she created her Interdisciplinary Major: Criminal Justice Studies. Combining Africana studies, Sociology, and Studio Art, her major studies the carceral system, the history of race and captivity that it reflects, and modes of resistance in the form of visual or performative art, text, and speech. Clare feels passionate about working to reform and ultimately do away with the underlying system, and about utilizing the power of art in doing so. The instant she stumbled upon JAC she felt a deep connection to and respect for their work. She is very excited to be joining the team! In her spare time, Clare loves to sing, paint, spend time outdoors, and rock climb.

Clare can be reached at clare@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Ian Trawinski, Web Intern

Ian Trawinski will be acting as an intern on JAC’s Web Team for the winter of 2022. He is currently working towards receiving a B.A. in Media and Communications Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, whilst also minoring in the fields of writing and biology. In the past two years Ian has grown deeply impassioned with a vast swath of issues within the realm of social reform, and upon encountering the JAC organization for the first time, he saw an opportunity to directly contribute to one of those causes. As a long time patron of the arts, and recent advocate for the overhaul of the American carceral system, JAC’s mission caught Ian’s eye and endeared him to it’s goals. Ian hopes to serve JAC to the best of his abilities, and in any capacity wherein his skills within the realms of social media work, writing, interviewing, etc, are found to be applicable. When he can manage to scrounge up some spare time, Ian enjoys reading, writing, watching films, and partaking in conversations that may last hours at a time with anyone willing to partake in them.

Ian can be reached at ian@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Rene Spiewak, Web & Development Intern

Rene Spiewak will be joining the Web and Development Teams as a new fall 2021 intern. A New Jersey native, Rene strives to pursue not-for-profit fundraising, particularly in the field of arts accessibility. This passion for creating equitable access to the arts was inspired by many years of experiencing the direct benefits of art making as a means of therapeutic self-expression. Rene’s goal at JAC is to learn from a passionate and inspirational community of artists and advocates for justice reform all while helping JAC to grow and thrive as a nationally impactful organization. Outside of work, Rene enjoys painting and drawing, filmmaking and curating playlists for friends.

Rene can be reached at rene@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Jesse DiMeglio, ArtConnects Intern

Jesse DiMeglio is an intern on the ArtConnects team and a junior at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA where she studies interpersonal communications and leadership & global understanding. Jesse has a history of working with and advocating for underprivileged communities and is passionate about storytelling as a connective thread for all peoples. She has grown passionate about the power of vulnerability and human connection through her experiences with grief work, advocacy, and cultural immersion trips. She hopes to use her voice and privilege to provide voice to those marginalized by society. She was drawn to JAC primarily because of their mission to use art as means to amplify the voices of those most directly affected by mass incarceration. In her time at JAC, Jesse hopes to learn more about the carceral system but most importantly to create connections with those she is in correspondence with and to work to create dialogue about what she learns within her community.

Jesse can be reached at jesse@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Sarah Shin, Web Intern

Sarah Shin is joining as a new intern on the Web team this Winter 2022. She is currently a junior at George Washington University, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Graphic Design. Sarah is passionate about both art and criminal justice and firmly believes in the transformative power of art. Through JAC, she hopes to learn more about the artists who are or have been incarcerated and how we can change our current criminal justice system to be more humanizing and healing. In her free time, Sarah loves to create digital illustrations, play soccer, be outdoors, and play the drums and guitar.  

Sarah can be reached at sarah@thejusticeartscoalition.org