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Offering Hope through Arts: 2019/20 Restorative Arts Projects Announced


Funded Projects Will Bring Visual, Literary and Performing Arts Interventions to Court-Involved Youth

Six local nonprofit organizations will bring arts instruction and mentoring to youth involved with the juvenile court system as the Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s (Metro Arts) board of commissioners Thursday approved funding for their 2019-2020 Restorative Arts project proposals.

Restorative Arts is a partnership of Metro Arts, Judge Sheila Calloway and the Nashville/Davidson County Juvenile Court and the Oasis Center. Begun in 2016 as a Public Investment Plan (PIP) pilot, the program’s marked impact led to its inclusion in the Metro operating budget.

Through this year’s projects, approved at the Commission’s September meeting, court-involved youth will engage in a wide range of arts interventions, such as using instruments and software to create music, interviewing local police officers to establish connections while learning storytelling skills, building communication skills through writing workshops, and discovering healthy outlets through world music and dance.

“Children need to know that they have value,” said Nashville and Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway, “And that’s one thing they learn from restorative justice programs: that they’re not just the decisions they’ve made in the past. It hurts my heart to see youth without hope, and with Restorative Arts, they find hope.”

“Studies show that adding arts to diversion programs dramatically improves children’s graduation rates, social-emotional skills and community engagement,” said Metro Arts Executive Director Caroline Vincent. “And our own survey of Restorative Arts participants showed statistically significant increases in youth self-awareness, self-management, and relationship skills after participating in the program. Metro Arts is proud to help bring these artists and organizations into the Juvenile Court system and grateful to Judge Calloway for her dedication to Nashville’s youth.“

Full list of 2019/2020 Restorative Arts Organizations and Projects:

Organization: From the Heart Int'l Education Foundation (FTH)

Project Name: Music for LIFE (M4L)

Genre: Blues, Jazz, R&B, Pop, Hip Hop

Project dates: October 2019 – May 2020

Project Location(s): Juvenile Detention Center & LIFEHOUSE

Lead Artists: Kerry Frazier, Trey Byrd

Award: $18, 750

Project Description: Through various forms of music (instrumental, lyrics, or beats), FTH

curriculum is designed to help youth focus on accountability, discipline, hope, and repairing the harm caused by poor decision making. The participants in M4L will be exposed to basic

recording, songwriting, live rehearsals, music research, and performances. The participants will explore themes of community, choice, accountability, responsibility, contribution, and

leadership. Additionally, FTH will engage the families of the youth by developing a collaborative relationship in which they can participate in their child's program while balancing their complex circumstances. Families will participate in songwriting and recording sessions with the youth and parents will be invited to join the parent band. Family members will be encouraged to participate in other aspects of the program as well; including but not limited to sports, wellness and nutrition; college and career readiness, and tutoring through our various educational


Organization: Global Education Center

Project Name: Passport to Prevention

Genre: World music, music production and dance

Project dates: October 2019 – May 2020

Project Location(s): Juvenile Detention Center & various community sites for Family


Lead Artists: Ellen Gilbert and Luis Alejandro Rivera

Award: $17,500

Project Description: Passport to Prevention is a collaborative project with Juvenile Court

designed as a way to help Court-involved youth, both incarcerated and monitored, to stay

connected or reconnect with their families through multicultural arts activities that benefit

family relationships. An increasing number of younger students are coming through the system, many of whom are siblings of older incarcerated teens. This project is designed to catch youth before they do something that will land them in the Court system as well as to help incarcerated youth find positive outlets and ways to communicate with their families that are healthy and encouraging. To that end, Passport to Prevention is a family-centered program that provides creative, interactive arts experiences for youth and families, such as monthly family fitness nights where participants can explore fun activities together – yoga, world percussion, Zumba, PoundFit, Capoeira, dance (Latin, African, Afro Beats, Folkloric, and Hip Hop).

Organization: Intersection

Project Name: Composition-Based Music Education and Contemporary Music Performances

Genre: Music

Project dates: October 2019 – May 2020

Project Location: Juvenile Detention Center

Lead Artist(s): Kelly Corcoran

Award: $14, 835

Project Description: A series of music education classes and performances of contemporary

music for youth at the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) in conjunction with its 2019-20 season. These programs meet a need for instruction in instrumental skills and music literacy and fundamentals as identified by JDC youth and staff, and are aligned with restorative justice goals for court-involved youth. The primary component of this project will be two sections of weekly classes that teach youth at JDC the fundamentals of music literacy, theory, and keyboard skills through the framework of music composition. Lessons will be guided by Intersection’s Contempo Kids curriculum, which was developed for youth with widely varied musical backgrounds and experience. Learning will be hands-on, with students using keyboards and drums as well as tablets and computer software to create music and express their own distinct voices.

Organization: One Voice Nashville (OVN)

Project Name: UnLocked

Genre: Storytelling

Project dates: October 2019 – May 2020

Project Location: Juvenile Detention Center

Lead Artist(s): Mary Margaret Randall & Daniel Westbrooks

Award: $18,750

Project Description: The OVN program curriculum contains three sections: “My Story,” “Your

Story,” and “Our Story.” Each section builds on the previous one, culminating in a student-produced project. The “My Story” part of the curriculum is designed to create a safe space and increase confidence. Youth engage in reflective exercises that help them navigate the individual stories that shape their lives. The “Your Story” part of the curriculum is designed to increase critical thinking skills. For this particular project, students will interview local police officers by way of their Story Partner to establish connection, eliminate fear and preserve anonymity. The “Our Story” part of the curriculum is designed to increase civic engagement. There will be one Showcase at the end of each program and an additional Community Showcase designed for local police officers from the Nashville Metropolitan area. At this Community Showcase, OVN program participants’ stories will be shared by their Story Partner. These partners will be composed of actors from local universities.

Organization: Southern Word

Project Name: Grounding Identity Through Words & Music

Genre: Spoken Word, Poetry, Rap, Hip Hop, R&B

Project dates: October 2019 – June 2020

Project Location: Juvenile Detention Center, Nashville Public Library, and Metro Schools

Lead Artist(s): Benjamin Smith & Saran Thompson

Award: $17,482.50

Project Description: Southern Word (SW) will offer a series of three Writing and Music

workshop sessions per week in the Juvenile Detention Center from October through June.

Writing workshops will focus on building communication skills, processing social emotional

challenges, and developing positive identity through creative writing and lyrical writing. Music production workshops will utilize mobile studios to engage participants in combining

songwriting and audio production. All sessions will introduce and engage participants in an arts activity which can be a stabilizing force in their lives during their detention and as they exit the detention center. Participants will also put together a mixtape project comprised of work written and produced by them. This project will provide youth something tangible to mark the progress made throughout the program.

Project Name: My Place: Discovering Self-Identity within Community

Genre: Visual Art, Storytelling, Theater, Movement, Writing

Organization: Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Project dates: January 2020 – March 2020

Project Location: Gang Court

Lead Artist(s): Amanda Cantrell Roche and Jon Royal

Award: $ 4,650

Project Description: Participants will generate class guidelines for group sharing and creating, to ensure a sense of safety in which individual voices can freely exist. Strategies such as mind mapping, free association, quick sketches, on-your-feet brainstorming, and creative process exercises will be used to generate reflection around their personal and community identities, building toward an agreed method for participants to tangibly express ideas. The first several weeks will work on building shared trust, moving toward more challenging creative exercises. Using private journals and activities that are scaffolded and paced, the youth will generate personal “I will” poems that convey their individual strengths and their relationship to the larger community. Themes may reflect evolving roles in families, neighborhoods, and with peers. Ultimately, the group will determine larger themes and messages they wish to share publicly through a visual art project. The art-making will emphasize the process and will generate a satisfying form of expression that is not dependent upon fine art skills. A visual artist will be included in the the latter part of the project to guide participants toward work they can effectively accomplish in a short period of time.

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