Past JAC Events

JAC’s rolling into the new year full-throttle, with an exhibition launch, a letter-writing night, and a film screening. Please join us for any or all of the events below, and please help spread the word!

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Reify Remote Learning with Jessica Barkl

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Tuesday, June 30, 4:00 – 5:00 pm EST

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Reify Remote Learning: Make What is Abstract, More Concrete and Real

What is teaching? 

What is learning?

What is performative?

What is art?

These are questions that all teaching artists, if not all teachers, are asking themselves in this new strange world of “remote learning”.

This workshop is for all artists and artist-teachers, who are questioning and desiring to sharpen up the tools they can use in the remote environment. During this 90- minute interactive workshop participants find modalities and “tricks” to use in the classroom that may be on paper, voice-only, on-camera asynchronously, or two- dimensionally synchronously. The workshop will focus on the first questions in this description; discussion; collaboration; and “tricks” discovered by the facilitator since March 13, 2020. The hope is that participants will leave this workshop having found their “voice” as a teacher in this new/abstract world.

This workshop’s goal is to help our community hit the reset button on what has worked in the past and to find teaching tools that mirror our understanding of our principles of teaching, learning, and art.

Jessica López-Barkl received her MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College and her BFA in Acting with a Performing Arts Emphasis from Cornish College of the Arts. She is currently an Associate Professor of Theater and Speech as well as the Theater Program Director at SUNY Sullivan. She has taught in the prison system as a professor and as an artist in Albuquerque, NM; Walla Walla, WA; and Sullivan County, NY. She is currently researching and writing about the effects of generational poverty on education and the arts. She is a theater generalist who has worked in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, Connecticut, and New York. She is the mother of a 2-year-old daughter and a wife. She currently spends her days isolated with her two loves and attempting to cook, work out, teach, and keep everyone happy.

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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IMG_0429Free Translation Sessions with Anastasia Artemeva and Arlene Tucker

Thursday, July 2

12:00 – 1:30 pm EST

REGISTER HERE

Link to Facebook Page

** NOTE: This sequence of workshops builds off of each other, so purchasing one ticket will grant you access to all four sessions. Please keep this in mind when purchasing ticket quantities, as well as when choosing donation amounts. Thank you!

On July 2nd we will have an open discussion about your translations with Tomás.

Free Translation is a multi-disciplinary project showcasing international works by currently and formerly incarcerated people, and anyone affected by imprisonment. In these sessions we use translation techniques as a means of creatively interpreting works of art and word. This means that we interpret the meaning of the works and create new works of art based on the translations. This can be a translation into another language or another medium. For example, a poem can be manifested into a photograph and a drawing can be written as a letter. In this way, we make new works of art and literature, and attempt to understand each other and open up dialogue.

During the 90 minute open art making session we will create translations of the works by Оксана Крутицкая (Oksana Krytickaya) and another Free Translation artist to be announced later. In the following sessions we will then speak with the artist and review the translations of their work. With your consent, artworks will be added to the Free Translation exhibition for the general public to see and continue the dialogue. 

https://freetranslation.prisonspace.org

About the facilitators:

Anastasia Artemeva is a visual and socially-engaged artist and researcher. Anastasia was born in Moscow, Russia, and lived in Ireland for many years before moving to Helsinki. Her socially-engaged creative projects explore and create space for communication and interaction. Conceptually, its activities are based on codes of social norms and accepted truths, which are influenced by socio-political, cultural and personal limitations and boundaries. Anastasia works in the genre of drawing, art installation, performance, creates artwork for theatrical productions and conducts art workshops.

Arlene Tucker is an artist and educator, and her work focuses on adding play elements to daily life through her art. Inspired by translation studies and animals she finds ways to connect and make meaning in our shared environments. Her process-based artistic work creates spaces and situations for exchange, dialogue, and transformations to occur and surprise all players. She is interested in creating projects that open up ideas and that engage the viewer; that invite the viewer to be a part of the narrative or art creation process. In translation, your participation continues to propel the story.

Free Translation Sessions is a collaboration of two projects both based in Helsinki: Prison Outside and Translation is Dialogue (TID). Prison Outside is an independent project founded in 2015. The research behind this project is centered on the subjects of imprisonment, justice, and the role of the arts in the relationships between people in prisons and people outside. TID is an art installation that generates a new project every time it is presented. TID uses translation techniques to not only produce art, but also understand what is being communicated. https://prisonspace.org https://www.translationisdialogue.org

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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A Conversation From Death Row with Kenneth ReamsScreen Shot 2020-06-10 at 1.59.55 AM

Thursday, June 25, 7:00 – 8:00 pm EST

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Kenneth Reams is an artist, social justice activist, and the founder of Who Decides, Inc., a non-profit that aims to raise awareness through the arts of the racial, ethical, and socio-economic issues intertwined with the history and practice of capital punishment in America.

Mr. Reams is a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, one of the most impoverished cities in America. Growing up in poverty, struggling with hunger, abuse, and a lack of opportunity, criminality became an increasingly prominent, unfortunate facet of Mr. Reams’ life. Following a botched robbery at a drive-thru ATM, where his friend shot and killed a man in the heat of the struggle, Mr. Reams was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, becoming the then-youngest inmate on Arkansas’ death row, despite not having pulled the trigger.

Facing execution for a murder he did not commit, Mr. Reams refused to allow his spirit to be broken, deciding to hone his life-long artistic skills and vision in order to share his story and perspective with the world. His art has been donated to several institutions, published in books; such as “Marking Time” – released in 2020, and featured in exhibits from New York to Norway, Little Rock to London, and many locations in between. Through a variety of media, including paintings, sculpture, and poetry, Mr. Reams expresses a uniquely visceral vision of the inhumane, arbitrary nature of capital punishment and the exploitative character of the prison-industrial complex.

Simultaneous with his rise in profile as an artist, Mr. Reams has become a prolific public speaker, engaging and enlightening an increasingly global audience. His past speaking engagements include talks at the International Film Festival on Human Rights in Switzerland, Stanford University, Bethany College, Princeton University, Columbia University, UNC Chapel Hill, St. Francis College in New York, Yale University, Geneva University – in Switzerland, and the University of Miami School of Law.

With the release of ‘Free Men,’ a documentary about Mr. Reams’ life, legal battles, and art, his story has taken on a new dimension and medium. As the film has made its way through the circuit of international film festivals, Mr. Reams has shared his thoughts about the film and the future with enraptured audiences in Beirut, France, Argentina, Islamabad, Great Britain, Tokyo, Belgium, and Vienna.

Despite the physical limitations facing Mr. Reams, having spent the past twenty-seven years of his life in the solitary confines of a six-foot by nine-foot cell, Mr. Reams continues to make a lasting impact on all who hear his harrowing yet inspiring story, prompting a widening audience to evaluate their own conceptions of justice and morality.

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Spoken Word Poetry with Anderson Smith

Wednesday, June 10, 4:00 – 6:00 pm EST

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How can spoken-word poetry become a source of dialogue and leadership empowerment against racism in America?

For spoken-word poets and lovers of spoken-word poetry, this interactive workshop models one way to have conversations in classrooms and community spaces regarding identity through metacognitive observation and spoken-word poetry. Participants will have an opportunity to consider their own identities and visions for the world at both individual and global levels. The focus of this workshop explores ways in which words can inspire and build confidence in future leaders to promote dialogue that transcends the classroom. The two hour workshop cycles through spoken word poetry, pre-writing activity, literature review, writing time, and the opportunities for discussion and reflection. Suitable for adolescents and adults of all ages.

The goals of this workshop are to assist participants in building courage, developing self-awareness, and honing effective communications skills through eye contact, projection, enunciation, facial expressions, and gestures. This workshop will focus on how having a unique perspective can teach us about ourselves and each other.

Dr. Anderson P.C. Smith, received his Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. He teaches creative writing in both medium and maximum-security prisons in New York. He holds a Master’s in Philosophy and Master’s in Education for the teaching of English, and a Master’s in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. He is currently researching the effects of literature when used in service to people with criminal conviction histories, post-incarceration. Anderson loves a good mystery novel, performing spoken word poetry, and singing embarrassing songs (as loud as possible), to his wife, three boys, and cat.

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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unnamedA Conversation about the Impact and Necessity of the Humanizing Language Around People Who Are or Have Been Incarcerated

Monday, June 1, 5:00 – 6:00 pm EST

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Link to Facebook Page

News media, and others in our community, often use language that is harmful to the image of the person in re-entry to the community. New language requires innovation, simplicity, and intention to become adopted in our society. Let’s work to together to think broadly about what these labels mean, how we leverage or eliminate them, and strategies for respectful communication.

This workshop will be a one-hour discussion based workshop, with prior access to two different google forms anonymous surveys. Please take the artist survey only if you are a formerly incarcerated artist. General audience survey is for everyone, and the results of both surveys will be made available, and used for discussion.

These surveys were created after Aimee’s most recent curation effort for the Returning Artist Guild. The surveys origianlly went to formerly incarcerated artists, and the general one went to parole officers, prison staff, and teaching artists and volunteers. The results of the surveys were pretty powerful, and led to the creation of a media release/statement for RAG artists to use.

Aimee Wissman is a formerly incarcerated artist from Columbus, Ohio. She is the founder of the Returning Artists Guild, a network of currently and formerly incarcerated artists seeking and creating opportunities and community for artists inside and out, as well as a steering committee member for the Ohio Prison Arts Connection. Having personally been affected by the stigmas surrounding the criminal justice system, Aimee hopes to change the conversation around mass incarceration.

Visit Aimee on Instagram and Facebook @aimeeinks and The Returning Artists Guild @thereturningartistsguild

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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RiverRiver of My Life Journal Workshop with Gabriel Ross, Director of the Creative Spirit Organization

Tuesday, June 2, 5:00 – 6:00 pm EST

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Take time to relax and reflect on your life as a river. See the meander, the rapids, the flow, the feeding springs and the flood plains. Using simple drawing and guided writing to create this imaginative visual of your life.

The process has been used in women’s visual journal classes at prison. River of My life gives participants an opportunity to ponder their lives in a new way and with amazing results.

Gabriel is the director of Creative Spirit. For 30 years, Creative Spirit (a 501(c) 3 organization) has kindled passion and awe in thousands of people through workshops, classes and performances. Using the visual and performing arts, we guide participants to explore their spirituality in today’s complex world. Our work with women in prison helps them rediscover their passions and the power of their spirituality to recreate and heal their lives. 

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Arte#CreativeResistance— The Intersection between Visual Arts & Human Rights with Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario in association with Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE)

Thursday, May 28, 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

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Through this session, folks will come away with a more concrete understanding of what basic human rights are and how they can be identified and made applicable to their own lives and communities. In this workshop, we’ll explore examples of visual artwork that express or advocate for human rights. Regardless of one’s artistic background, we’ll engage in simple, interactive art-making activities together.

 Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE) is a New York City-based non-profit that works to amplify the voices of young people for human rights change through the visual arts. For more info: http://www.artejustice.org

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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AWF

Forging Public/Private Partnerships for Incarcerated Youth with Jeanie Thompson, Founder of Writing Our Stories, a program of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a Statewide Literary Service Organization 

 

Tuesday, May 26, 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST

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Since 1997, the Alabama Writers’ Forum has helped shape public dialogue around the intersection of the arts and justice through Writing Our Stories, an in-class creative writing program for students in the Alabama Department of Youth Services school district. Teaching writers spend 9 months with DYS students, then publish an anthology of their work and produce a book launch. That’s the framework, but the by-product of this work is that a wide circle of educators, arts practitioners, and elected officials in Alabama are aware of the power of creative writing for incarcerated youth. In this workshop, will we briefly look at Alabama’s model and give guidance for identifying potential partners and funders to create sustainable and impactful creative (and other arts) programs in your location’s youth facilities.

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Khalid Thompson

Screening of “On The Row” and talkback with The Prison Story Project

Saturday, May 23, 3:00 – 4:45 pm EST

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The Prison Story Project offers incarcerated women and men an opportunity to explore their truths through poetry, creative writing, literature, song-writing, and visual art. Their work is then curated into a staged reading performed by actors and presented first to those on the inside, and then outside to the community.

Eleven of the thirty-four men on death row participated in the Project from May – October. Six actors and a musician were brought back to Varner Prison’s death row to present the staged reading of “On The Row” to the men. Three months later the state of Arkansas announced it would execute 8 men over 10 days just after Easter 2017. Four of the men set to be executed were participants in our project. Two were executed and two received last minute stays.

“On The Row” has been touring the country since 2017. Last year the Whiting Foundation for the Humanities awarded The Prison Story Project a substantial grant which has allowed us to create a filmed version of the staged reading as well as creation of a comprehensive teaching guide to share with other arts organizations interested in replicating our work.

For this online screening, the Prison Story Project team will introduce the film and provide time for a Q&A after. 

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the uniqueness of this event, we require some sort of donation.

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Dear & Sincerely — Movement and Text Exploration with Corina Dalzell

Tuesday, May 19, 5:00 – 6:00 pm EST

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Link to Facebook Page

Using letter writing and correspondence as the guide we will explore how we address messages, and where they resonate in the body. This session will include a movement based warm up, independent writing, improvising and exploring all together, and optional sharing. There is plenty of space for deep thoughts, casual ones, silly experiments, and experimentation.

Corina Iona Dalzell is a dance maker and performer focusing on inclusion and community. “Dear & Sincerely” is one of many original works that have been performed at numerous festivals and studios. They are based in D.C., but have worked and partnered with theaters and arts organizations across the country. Click here to learn more about Corina and their work.

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Practice Session on Offering Empathy by DC Peace Team 

Sunday, May 17, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm EST

REGISTER HERE

Link to Facebook Page

Do you seek the right words to express yourself and communicate with others in ways that create more connection instead of disconnection? Join DC Peace Team online on Sunday, May 17th from 11-12:30 est for a session of Nonviolent Communication (NVC).  For this NVC practice session on offering empathy, we’ll explore what it might look like when someone is in emotional pain and how we react or respond, physically, mentally, and emotionally. By investigating our own responses and the unmet needs of those in emotional pain, we’ll dive deep into an evaluation of how some responses are more likely to allow those in pain to feel relief from shared empathy.

Sal Corbin offers training in Active Bystander Intervention, Restorative Justice and conflict mediation. He worked for 15 years in academia as a Psychology Professor before transitioning to nonprofit work. He has done Workforce Development training and program management and is currently a Training Coordinator for Friendship Place and a Mediation Coordinator for Community Mediation DC. His vision is to help others build and maintain healthy relationships, with conflict transformation as the primary focus. His extensive background in leadership facilitation supports his efforts to keep showing up and sharing.

LeeAnn King is a geospatial scientist, community organizer, yoga teacher, and health & wellness guide. She has developed trainings and guidelines to create and maintain Safe Spaces for several community organizations and businesses in and around DC with NVC as a primary tool for communication.

The DC Peace Team envisions a society committed to sustainable peace and justice. We commit to sustaining a DC Peace Team that cultivates the virtue of nonviolent peacemaking and key corresponding practices. We commit to unleashing the power of ordinary civilians to increasingly serve their communities particularly as nonviolent peacekeepers, and by extension as peacemakers and peacebuilders.

Website:https://dcpeaceteam.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/DcPeaceTeam

Email: DCPeaceTeam@gmail.com

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation, and a $1 minimum donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators, to honor their creativity, passion, and commitment to creating these spaces. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Drawing Games with Julie McNiel

Friday, May 15, 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

REGISTER HERE

Link to Facebook Page

WHAT TO HAVE: 4 or 5 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11” paper and a couple pencils. Soft graphite pencils, like 2B or 4B are good. A pencil sharpener is handy to have. You are encouraged to use any size paper, sketch pads, journals, colored pencils, whiteboard, pens, that you have available. But plain white paper and a pencil or two are all you really need. Find a suitable place to draw, while watching your screen. 

Jump right into a series of drawing games that get you moving and making marks, fearlessly. The games are based on warm-ups that Julie uses in her prison art classes. They are simple practices to encourage participants to enjoy drawing, engage in the spirit of improvisation, without judgement or the pressure to make something perfect or realistic. Each exercise builds upon the others. For the beginner, the objective is to make marks and move through each step, letting go of fear and preconceptions. The more experienced artist may approach the 45 minutes of drawing as a form of meditation that may lead to new ideas, or release blocks to your own creativity. If you are a teacher, you may find something in this workshop useful in your own classroom. Be playful, and open to the flow of imagery that will emerge.

Julie is a contracted Teaching Artist and Site Coordinator with the William James Association Prison Arts Project. Through the Arts-in-Corrections Program, a partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the California Arts Council, Julie has taught weekly visual arts classes at Pelican Bay State Prison, year-round, since 2014. Julie has also taught art classes at Humboldt County Correctional Facility, as a volunteer. To see Julie’s art: www.juliemcniel.com. To learn about the AiC Program: www.artsincorrections.org 

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Create + Connect: Online Workshop Series

Creative Writing & Movement Workshop with Peggy Lamb, teaching artist with Truth Be Told 

Tuesday, April 28, 4:00 – 5:00 pm EST 

What to have: paper and pen; comfortable clothing

Discover the wisdom that swims through your body… and have fun doing it! Come play with us as we explore the relationship between the language of words and the language of the body. We’ll do some fun and simple movement exercises to encourage somatic awareness and deepen our writing practice, followed by writing prompts. Previous movement and/or writing experience is NOT required. Bring pen and paper and an open mind.

Peggy Lamb is the Exploring Creativity Coordinator at Truth Be Told, a non profit organization based in Texas that offers various programs in women’s prisons and jails that promote personal growth and healing from past trauma. A writer and a facilitator of writing and creative movement workshops, Peggy has made numerous contributions to the organization over the past ten years. She was recently featured as a guest on the Podcast series, Excellent Decisions. If you would like to get in contact with Peggy, you can email her at peggy.lamb@sbcglobal.net.

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Interactive Poetry with Leigh Sugar, teaching artist with the Prisoner Reentry Institute

Friday, May 1, 12:00 – 1:30 pm EST

What to have: paper and pen

In this workshop we will explore the power of storytelling to frame and process the sometimes confusing range of experiences that accompany challenging situations – perhaps incredible joy, gratitude, and pride, as well as devastating disappointment, loss, and frustration, sometimes all at once. We will share our various challenges and triumphs, read examples of poems and stories loosely organized around themes of social and environmental challenges (including illness, incarceration, loss, radical joy), and write our own creative pieces from prompts designed to expose our perspectives, assumptions, fears, pains, and gratitude. No creative writing experience necessary.

The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) is one of twelve institutes that collectively comprise the Research Consortium of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. PRI’s diversified portfolio reflects an overall focus on understanding what it takes for people to live successfully in their communities after contact with the criminal justice system, and on increasing the effectiveness of the professionals who work with them. This is accomplished through their three main tracks of policy advocacy, direct service practice, and collaborative partnerships. Join their community by subscribing to their mailing list.

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Yoga and Meditation with Marcia McGee, Youth Arts: Unlocked Teaching Artist

Sunday, May 3, 10:00 – 11:00 am EST

What to have: comfortable clothing and space for movement

Join Youth Arts: Unlocked on a Sunday morning for a calming, reflective, and de-stressing 60-minute yoga class. We are in a time of anxiety-provoking chaos, and it is important that we all stop for a second, confront how we are feeling, and just be still. This class is especially directed toward first responders in carceral settings, but all are welcome.

YOUTH ARTS: UNLOCKED (previously The Buckham/GVRC Share Art Project) brings artists and arts workshops to justice-involved youth in Flint and Genesee County. The organization’s goal is to introduce artistic concepts and techniques as a means of CONNECTING, EXPRESSING, LEARNING, AND DISCOVERY. It began with a 12-week pilot project in the fall of 2011 and currently offers weekly workshops in the visual arts, Spoken Word poetry, theatre, and dance. Workshops are held at Genesee County’s youth detention facility, GVRC, and at GearUp Academy.

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Theatre Workshop with Janessa Johnsrude

Tuesday, May 5, 7:00 – 8:15 pm EST

What to have: comfortable clothing and space for movement; writing instrument

Pelican Bay Prison Arts Theatre Program Director and physical theatre artist, Janessa Johnsrude, will lead a workshop presentation of the “character projects” curriculum she has designed and implemented at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. The workshop will detail class structure, ensemble building techniques, devising for solo and group projects, and her experience working with ensembles of incarcerated individuals to generate original performance. 

REGISTER HERE

Link to event on Facebook

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Discussion on using a trauma informed approach when crafting art experiences with Kate Stank

Saturday, May 9, 4:00 – 5:00 pm EST

This workshop will include an hour long facilitated dialogue about the importance and challenges of creating art experiences and lessons from a trauma informed perspective. Not only is this especially important to have an understanding of while working in and around carceral settings, but also as an educator, administrator, or creator of art. 

Kate Stank, a teaching artist in Pennsylvania, engages in therapy work with incarcerated men. In her work, she creates and facilitates experiences that are trauma informed. Most of the clients she works with have trauma in their history, and she believes that an awareness of this dynamic is important when crafting experiences and lessons.

REGISTER HERE

Link to Facebook Page

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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Dance and Movement Class with Sarah Dahnke and Sarah Pope from Dances for Solidarity

Thursday, May 14, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST

What to have: Comfortable clothing and room to move

In this Dances for Solidarity workshop, participants are led through the process of embodying choreography created by someone in solitary confinement, creating a movement-based response, and transcribing this movement into text that can be mailed back to the incarcerated person. This will be a creative and immersive experience that will allow us to experience pain through artistic motion.

Sarah Danke and Sarah Pope are choreographers and movement directors through the Dances for Solidarity collaboration, which invites people who are being held in solitary confinement to perform a 10-step written movement sequence inspired by a sense of community. The project is truly inspiring in that, although participants are engaging in the choreography alone in their cells, there are other people across various prisons doing the exact same dance. The program currently sends invitations to prisons in Texas and Louisiana.

REGISTER HERE

Link to Facebook Page

This workshop is being offered as “pay what you can,” with a $20 suggested donation. All revenue will be split between JAC and the teaching artist facilitators. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.

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We’re excited to be partnering with President Lincoln’s Cottage for Iron Cages, an exhibition that will reveal just how much ingenuity exists among the nearly 7 million people who are justice-involved in the US, amplify the voices of those most impacted by mass incarceration, and demonstrate the power of the arts to spark connection, empathy, and change. The exhibition will feature the work of over 20 currently and formerly incarcerated artists in JAC’s national network. Iron Cages opens to the public on January 7th and runs through the end of the month.

Lincoln’s Cottage

We’ll celebrate the launch of the exhibition with a reception at the Cottage on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 6:30-8:30pm. Voices Unbarred, a local prison theatre program, will perform, and there will be readings of poetry written by men and women participants in writing classes at MD prisons as well as live jazz and refreshments. Info and registration here.

Marshmallow Sky, Brian Hindson

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, we’ll gather at Rhizome DC for our third ArtLinks letter-writing night, where volunteers will get to view new artwork by incarcerated artists and share their reactions, reflections, and feedback with them by mail. Participation is free, of course, but we do ask that folks try to bring a few dollars to contribute to the cost of using Rhizome’s space. Refreshments will be provided. More info and RSVP here.

October ArtLinks

Last but definitely not least, we’ll close out the Iron Cages exhibition on January 30 with an event that we’re really excited about: a screening of 16 Bars, “a feature-length documentary that offers a rare glimpse at the human stories — and songs — that are locked away in our nation’s jails and prisons”. The film follows Grammy-winning recording artist Todd “Speech” Thomas into the Richmond Jail, where he collaborates on an album with four incarcerated musicians. It’s an incredibly powerful film.

16-Bars-Poster.jpg

Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/16-bars-documentary-screening-tickets-88709286865

We hope you’ll stay for a panel discussion after the film. Panelists include:

Lyn Twyman

Lyn is a Behavioral Health Advocate and Community Policing & Re-entry Expert whose father was incarcerated in Federal Prison. Lyn specializes in domestic violence prevention, trauma and healing, community policing, youth engagement, and prison reentry. Lyn’s extensive career spans over 20 years, including a dynamic background in violence reduction with a majority of years spent in law enforcement as a civilian, in addition to the private and nonprofit sectors, state, and federal government. She also advises grassroots organizations that offer fatherhood and mentoring programs for returned citizens. Lyn works to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, especially with youth and those returning from prison. Lyn serves on the State of Maryland Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition and is the Chair of the Civil Unrest Work Group. In October of 2016, Lyn was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry J. Hogan, Jr. to the Neshante and Chloe Davis Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force, the first task force of its kind for the State of Maryland. She is a speaker and workshop presenter on various issues including mental health and founded a grassroots program that focuses on domestic violence prevention education and trauma. 

Benjamin Harbert

Ben Harbert joined the music faculty at Georgetown University after receiving his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His Ph.D. research was on music in three Louisiana prisons. His current research interests also include documentary film and posthumanism. Ben has been a teaching fellow at UCLA and a lecturer at Pomona College as well as a resident artist at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. Before returning to academia, he directed the guitar, percussion and music theory programs at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. 

Ben is the Director of the 2012 documentary, Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians, and the author of numerous chapters and articles, including “Only Time: Musical Means to the Personal, the Private and the Polis at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women” (American Music, 2013); “I’ll Keep on Living After I Die: Musical Manipulation and Transcendence at Louisiana State Penitentiary” (The International Journal of Community Music, 2010); and “Sounding Lockdown: Singing in Administrative Segregation at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women” (with Consuela Gaines for Popular Music and the Politics of Hope, eds. Susan Fast and Craig Jennex, Routledge, 2019).

David Sampé

Washington, D.C., 1993. David Sampé was 19 years old and confined at a Correction Corporation of America (now Civic Corps) facility, the first wave of prisons for profit. He was placed in a youth Act Program that kept him, and others like him, locked in a 6’x9’ cell for eight months, 23½ hours a day. A part of him that went into that box never came out. Broken, like Humpty Dumpty, he was left to put himself back together again. Several years later, after multiple arrests and felony convictions, he became mentally unhinged and spiraled out of control. 

Over the course of 25 years he has reconstructed his mind piece by piece and, through the practice of mindfulness and meditation, has turned a broken mind into a resilient one. These experiences have equipped him with the tools to guide men and women coming home from prison  out of their fractured state and back into balance. 

David formed Article730 in 2015 to act as a vessel that can guide returning citizens to a healthy life beyond their mental confinement. In 2018, Article730 moved from New York to its new home in Washington D.C. and added to its mission. Taking the Fredrick Douglas quote “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” Article730 went into public middle schools with the goal of eradicating all in-school suspension/detention centers and establishing Wellness Centers as an alternative. In 2019, David Sampé was asked to join the YES! for Schools family to train school teachers mindfulness and the power of meditation and became a Senior Production Advisor to the One in Four podcast, which focuses on humanizing, educating and elevating the conversation about re-entry of the formerly incarcerated. David recently joined the team of Aspire Side Hustle as a Wellness and Meditation Coach, where he stays devoted to not only making a change in the community but changing the narrative entirely, and was invited to join the board of PAVE (Parents Amplified Voices in Education), a non-profit organization that partners parents and leaders with schools and policymakers to develop diverse, safe, and nurturing schools for every child.

Kofi Dennis

Kofi Dennis is a drummer, performer, and educator. He earned a degree in Early Childhood Education at the Komenda Teaching College, University of Cape Coast in Ghana, West Africa, and a degree in Theater Arts (creative dramatics) from the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana. Before moving to the United States in 1995, Kofi taught academics and lead performing arts programs at schools, correctional facilities, orphanages, and child-care centers in Ghana. He also starred in radio and stage theaters, television and video productions in Ghana. Since being in the DC metro area, Kofi has educated and entertained as a drummer, storyteller, singer, and dancer at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Discovery Theater, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and Wolf Trap’s Theater in the Woods and Filene Center. He has taught creative drama at the Montessori School of Northern Virginia in Annandale for the past 10 years and has been a Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist since 1998. He is recognized as a master teacher/trainer and presenter of West African Culture. Kofi runs Play for Concepts and teaches in DC area detention facilities through Artivate‘s Project Youth Arts Reach. He has worked with World Children’s Choir to lead an African drumming for peace initiative and performs as half of the duo Anansegromma, presenting music, dance, drums, games, and stories.

Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/16-bars-documentary-screening-tickets-88709286865

 

Here’s to a new year and a growing movement of artists, activists, advocates, and allies dedicated to harnessing the power of the arts to reimagine justice.

 

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