“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.”

Paul Robeson

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Art by Russell Craig

 

RIGHT OF RETURN

USA FELLOWSHIP

A FELLOWSHIP FOR FORMERLY INCARCERATED ARTISTS

Right of Return Co-Chairs Jesse Krimes and Russell Craig and The Soze Agency are proud to announce the second year of the Right of Return USA Fellowship, generously funded by the Open Philanthropy Project. The fellowship program will continue to invest in formerly incarcerated artists, supporting the creation of original works produced in partnership with advocates and organizers to further criminal justice reform efforts. In this second year, we will be awarding a diverse group of six artists a grant of $20,000 each to support a project aimed at reforming our criminal justice system. The application will open in November, 2018 (exact date to be announced).

“We believe that art has the potential to create change, and that individuals who are directly impacted by our criminal justice system are best positioned to lead conversations and find solutions to the problem of over-incarceration,” said Co-Chairs Krimes and Craig. Artists as culture-makers have always had a critical role to play in transforming our society into one that is more just, and the push to end mass incarceration is no exception. Artists have always been at the forefront of social movements distilling complex issues and helping us make sense of the world around us. In a world saturated with new challenges everyday, artists also function as organizers by connecting people and refocusing our attention into action as we collectively reimagine the world we want to live in.

While many artists have explored the issue of mass incarceration, formerly incarcerated artists have an especially important role to play in exploring this issue and catalyzing change. Drawing on their own life stories, these artists powerfully ground audiences in the human experience of incarceration, helping to break through barriers and shame that often disconnects the public from action. As such, they are critical strategic partners in efforts to challenge mass incarceration at all levels. The Right of Return fellowship will not only amplify the work of six new formerly incarcerated artists, but will also add to the first class of fellows and continue to foster a richer community of culture-shaping artists.

The Right of Return project welcomes submissions from formerly incarcerated artists working in all creative disciplines to challenge mass incarceration—including visual, performance, poetry, media, design, and other artistic practices.

ARTIST RETREAT

In addition to receiving financial support for the proposed project, Right of Return Fellows will participate in a group retreat in Early Spring of 2019 and in Late Summer of 2019 (U.S. based location TBD); participation is a requirement of the fellowship. The central aims of the retreat are to foster relationships, gain perspective on the problems of mass incarceration and innovative solutions, and develop a deeper knowledge of criminal justice reform efforts across the country. The retreat includes master classes on campaign strategies, criminal justice policy, and relevant art practices.

THE APPLICATION IS NOW OPEN.

OUR FIRST CLASS OF FELLOWS:

MARY BAXTER

REGINALD 'DWAYNE' BETTS

RUSSELL CRAIG

SHERI CRIDER

JESSE KRIMES

JUAN ORTIZ

SHONTINA VERNON

 

RIGHT OF RETURN

USA FELLOWSHIP

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Art by Jesse Krimes