The University of Arizona Poetry Center is proud to announce that we are the recipients of a continuing grant from the Art for Justice Fund. The Art for Justice board approved a spring docket of 17 grants that include both final renewal grants to criminal justice organizations and a range of art-related projects, totaling $6.164 million in investments. While the full slate of grantees will be announced in the coming week, the cohort of grantees includes more support for the creative practice of justice-focused artists – particularly those who are formerly incarcerated themselves. It also includes funding for public art exhibitions and programming designed to make clear the human and societal toll of mass incarceration and possibilities that can exist when we imagine new pathways to public safety.
The original Art for Justice grant at the Poetry Center funded a three-year project that commissioned new work from leading writers in conversation with the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States, with the goal of creating new awareness and empathy through presentation and publication. In particular, through the work of leading poets, the project seeks to confront racial inequities within the criminal justice system to promote social justice and change.
We are thrilled to continue the work we've begun by welcoming Marcelo Hernandez Castillo as a new ambassador to the project. We will also continue to offer our Free Time workshop, a free class that connects mentors with incarcerated writers. The workshop's leader, Joe Watson, is a formerly incarcerated writer and media professional who wrote about what Free Time means to its participants here.
We will also pivot to new initiatives, which we will announce as they come to fruition.
You can read more about the Art for Justice project here.