April 15, 2024

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Mellon Foundation Commits $125 Million to Art Projects Centering Mass Incarceration

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Mellon Foundation Commits $125 Million to Art Projects Centering Mass Incarceration

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation now announced the launch of its Imagining Flexibility initiative, a $125 million work aimed at supporting artistic development among all those negatively influenced by the US carceral system. The multiyear grantmaking method will support “arts and humanities organizations that engage the expertise, essential imagining, and creative imagination of tens of millions of persons and communities with lived experience of the US prison authorized program and its pervasive forces of dehumanization, stereotyping, and silencing.”

As observed by the basis, the US imprisons far more of its citizens than any other country in the globe, with extra than seventy million men and women arrested, prosecuted, or convicted. Men and women of colour endure disproportionately beneath the American carceral process, with individuals of shade making up 50 % the presently incarcerated populace, and Native folks imprisoned at approximately 4 periods the amount of white men and women.

“As artists, writers, and scholars performing within and outside of jail have extended known, the arts and humanities uniquely and powerfully counter some of the most enduring, far-achieving, and least found impacts of mass incarceration in our place and on its persons and communities,” said Mellon Basis president Elizabeth Alexander. “Through Imagining Flexibility, we are supporting inventive, cultural, and humanistic work that facilities the voices and understanding of persons specifically affected by the carceral system—recognizing their full humanity, deepening our shared comprehending of the process and its results, catalyzing us to address the destruction it triggers, and envisioning and enacting just responses to harm. We cannot fully grasp who we are as a place if we never hear to all of the voices that make up our interdependent communities.”

The Mellon Basis to date has awarded approximately $41 million by using the work, which is portion of its main Presidential Initiatives meant to foster essential thinking. Among the grant recipients hence much are Marking Time, the pathbreaking plan set up by Nicole Fleetwood that responds to the carceral technique by way of art, and the Rikers Community Memory Challenge, which through arts initiatives and oral histories documents the encounters of Rikers prisoners and their people and good friends. The most new grantees contain the Previously Incarcerated College Graduates Network, which helps former prisoners in attaining greater instruction, and the Jailhouse Lawyers Initiatives’ Flashlights Project, which supports a general public digital archive chronicling the activities of incarcerated justice advocates.

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