In collaboration with Ohio Arts Council and Kent State University, I am coordinating a demonstration project on the impact of new arts programs for incarcerated students. Launched by California Lawyers for the Arts with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, this demonstration project initiative was conceived as a way to seed initiatives in five states (Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, New York, and Ohio) that would encourage funders and state- and city-level decisionmakers to see the value of investing in the arts in carceral contexts.
At present here in Ohio, our principal investigator Dr. Christopher Dum (Sociology faculty at KSU) has submitted our project for approval to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's review board for human subjects research. Upon approval, we will work with administrators at Grafton Correctional, Dayton Correctional, and Pickaway Correctional - and three teaching artists working in a range of artistic mediums - to plan and implement three new arts workshops and projects. We'll study the impact of these programs on student self-perception and perceptions of others. Our goal is to produce a white paper - to be released widely - that outlines the impacts observed in the study.