Our mission is to normalize the inclusion of incarcerated writers and artists in mainstream venues by bridging the gap between them and harnessing this creative proximity as a path to de-carceration and public safety.
To achieve our mission we have a twofold strategy. We support the most talented writers and artists in prisons across the country, providing them the resources they need to get their creative work outside prison walls, be fairly compensated, and contribute their creativity to the movements of abolition, de-carceration, and liberation of incarcerated people.
Secondly, we support capacity building for publications, galleries, museums and other organizations committed to this work, to help them meaningfully center currently-incarcerated people in creative spaces while fairly compensating them.
Artwork Detail: 2042, Lamavis Comundoiwilla, 2020
Get the voices of incarcerated people past the choir and into mainstream venues to build more public support for ending the Prison Industrial Complex.
Help incarcerated people access paid opportunities in the creative economy, build creative and professional relationships, gain relevant knowledge and skills, and collaborate with communities beyond bars.
Support outside institutions and individuals in hiring incarcerated individuals to do creative work, especially in fields and projects related to mass incarceration.
Support work (like investigative journalism or socially-justice centered art) in order to hold systems accountable.
Prepare writers and artists “pre-entry” by supporting their professional goals while still incarcerated.
Provide grants for incarcerated creatives to curate events and spearhead initiatives and programming inside their prisons.
Break cycles of poverty and intergenerational incarceration.
Marathon Fundraiser Empowerment Avenue founder Rahsaan Thomas ran the New York City Marathon! To contribute to his marathon fundraiser, which will support programming at Empowerment Avenue, go here.
Artwork details left to right: Anna Ruiz, From Past; Liz Lozano, Illusions; Vegas Bray,Vegas In Paradise Photo: Minoosh Zomorodinia
The Only Door I Can Open: Women Exposing Prison through Art and Poetry