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"In 2010, an ambitious model for social change emerged in Chicago that aimed to connect detained youth and those at risk for incarceration (“at-risk youth”) to rigorous and engaging arts instruction, infused with social and emotional learning goals. Dubbed the Arts Infusion Initiative, the Chicago Community Trust (“the Trust”) spearheaded and funded this five year, $2.5 million demonstration while earning cooperation from the local detention facility, public school system, community policing office, and community arts program leaders to integrate arts programming into youths’ school and after school environments. Since its launch, the Arts Infusion Initiative has served more than 2,000 youth at an average annual cost of $700 per teen, linking them to high performing arts instruction associated with significant increases in social and emotional learning. This report marks the first large-scale evaluation of the Arts Infusion Initiative which was designed to: (1) assess the degree to which the project, as an emergent model for social change, was achieving its intended purposes and (2) generate actionable information for promoting effective Arts Infusion practices while redirecting those that have been less effective" (p. 3). Six chapters comprise this evaluation: introduction; importance of the Arts Infusion Initiative; components of the Arts Infusion Initiative; evaluation methods; seven key findings; and recommendations for promising practices. Two of the key findings are: Arts Infusion youth participants had statistically significant improvements in their social and emotional learning skills; and Arts Infusion programs were successful in "exposing at-risk youth "to new skills and technologies, providing confidence building experiences that opened their minds to a positive future" (p. 5).

Arts Infusion Initiative, 2010-15 Cover

This paper will be of interest to those who are beginning to investigate the benefits of institutional art programming. "This capstone study examines information about the use of art education in Florida prisons. The project’s objectives raise important questions about the role and status of art education in Florida prisons. Additionally, incorporated in the findings is a discussion concerning the need for establishing long-term, publicly funded art education in today’s corrections environment … Conclusions drawn from the research suggest that art programs for incarcerated individuals can help them develop better mental outlooks. Expressive therapy and art education reduces violence within the prison system as well as decreases parolees’ recidivism. This project is a call for art educators to break into prison, taking their creative inspiration and expressive therapy strategies to incarcerated men and women. Without such efforts, few art programs will ever be offered in state prisons" (p. 8-9). Sections of this paper include: purpose of the study; prison education overview; art education in prisons; cost benefits; art educators working with prisoners; personal experience; what makes for a strong prison art education program; hindrances to establishing ongoing programming; lingering questions; and summary. A list of websites about current art programs and prison art and education is also included.

Breaking Into Prison: Art Education in Action Cover
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