The generous grant we received from the Georgia Council for the Arts has been instrumental in providing the financial assistance necessary for us to do the work of supporting people who are under carceral control in Georgia through arts, education, and reentry services. Through judicious use of the grant funds, we were able to enlist the services of a talented director to assist with the development and production of our students capstone performance, a musical which they wrote themselves. This production was of fundamental importance to our students, as they dedicated many months of tireless work to the piece. The final product was a brilliant, nuanced synthesis of all they had learned over the course of their study on utopia. In addition to this, GCA funds also enabled us to maintain the day to day operation of the organization.
Here it seems appropriate to include a testimonial from one of our students; she writes:
“‘What does Reforming Arts mean to me?’ Wow! That’s a deep, difficult answer because it means so much! 1) It makes me feel like I/we matter in the larger picture– that some part of society DOES care that I/we exist and wants better for me/us. 2) It creates a safe environment–something I have NOT had in nearly 20 years. Unless you have experienced this, I’m unsure whether one is able to appreciate the depth of comfort derived from this safe haven. 3) Reforming Arts gives me an educational opportunity otherwise unavailable to Lifers in the Prison System. 4) The level of learning/arts infused curriculum is far above any that any other penal institution offers. 5) I have an unquenchable desire to learn that is being fed. 6) I am learning that I have a voice and ways to effectively use it. 7) Acceptance without judgement or ridicule.”