The Confined Arts (TCA) is a program to illustrate and showcase the talents and creative voices of artists directly impacted by mass incarceration and intersecting social justice issues. TCA uses collaborative activism to express the limitations and restraints produced out of dehumanization and injustice. This artist-led platform aims to influence policy change and to lay the foundation for imagining a world anchored on empathy and saturated with healing and prevention-based policies. This platform provides an outlet for artists to express their voices through the visual and performing arts, poetry, and music as a means to abolish the inhumane narratives and socially degrading stigmas that are used to describe the past experiences and limit the futures of individuals impacted by incarceration. The TCA platform is also open to those artists who work in or around jails and prisons, as well as those who have been impacted by mass incarceration through a friend or family member.
TCA has a 2-part mission:
- Counter and change the dehumanizing narratives that are driving criminal justice policy to empathy based narratives that enable the imagination and implementation of scenarios and solutions transcending the stigmatizing and unjust status quo;
- Recognize and elevate the role of the arts in touching people emotionally, fostering human connection, building empathy, bridging worlds, changing the hearts and minds of people able to influence policy, and building activism, envisioning a world different from the one currently existing and enabling people to make it a reality.
Art, no matter the medium, should never be seen as a means for satisfying decorative desires, nor should the implementation of art programing be viewed as a supplemental means for entertaining crowds. The role of art in activism must be elevated to the level of its capacity to change the hearts and minds of people. Art is at the forefront of change. The process begins when we imagine a new world, one that is devoid of stigma and inequality. Resourceful artistic creativity within social change is one of the most influential and sometimes overlooked methods of problem solving. When rational lived experiences are not enough to change people's minds, attitudes, and behavior, art and popular culture have the potential to touch people on deeper levels of consciousness.
OUR THEORY OF COLLABORATION
The Confined Arts forms strategic collaborations enabling multi-dimensional advocacy strategies. In 2019 we:
- PARTNERED with the Center for Institutional Change at Columbia Law School and Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) to implement BAC methodologies to TCA strategies
- EXPANDED its platform to advocate for other populations experiencing different types of human rights and social injustices
- ENGAGED city officials, law enforcement, academics, media, and community stakeholders with projects and events that put the arts at the forefront for creating change
- TARGETED social and institutional methods of dehumanization in the carceral system to decrease punitive triggers in the US criminal justice system
Learn more about The Confined Arts by visiting our official website @ www.theconfinedarts.org