Inside Out
Expressive Arts Workshops for Incarcerated Women

Inside Out is specifically designed to consider the social and shared personal histories of the women we serve. This program assists participants in reflecting on emotionally damaging issues through expressive art forms. ArtSpring’s uniquely designed curriculum encourages deep reflection in order to begin to understand the personal and social issues haunting many of the women for years and are at the root of their incarceration. Underlying the curriculum design of Inside Out is the belief that creativity is inherent in art-making and art-making is inherently meaningful, therapeutic, and educational.

Most importantly, Inside Out seeks to provide a safe space for women to share and explore their emotions, build trusting relationships, find their own creative voice, and develop a sense of community within a highly restrictive environment. Success in this work depends upon the establishment of trustful, productive relationships between the artists and students and between the student and the creative process. Our workshops are comprised of exercises and ideas that expand awareness, stimulate imagination, strengthen the capacity for feeling, and develop skills of expression.


Breaking Free – Arts for Adolescent Girls

After five years of working with incarcerated women and learning some of their histories, ArtSpring became committed to broadening our reach to address some of the personal childhood issues that were shared by the adult women inside. Based on the Inside Out model, the curriculum was adapted to specifically focus on a similar program for female youths. Breaking Free was implemented in July 1999. Although there are many similarities in the core issues of both institutionalized women and girls, the Breaking Free curriculum is specifically designed to address some of the age specific differences between the adolescent and the adult female population.




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Odalys, Homestead Correctional Institution, Inside Out Participant 2001

Inside Out (unknown to me) came at a time when I most needed a more positive channel to drive my unspoken wounds…. I have come to realize, one cannot change a lifetime of misgivings all in a single day. But making a decision to change, because it is best for one's self is the first step to healing…. I have truly come a long way because of this program and I still have a long way to go. But, with every intention on continuing to dance with this very special group of women and our leaders, I know I am on my way to a greater healing ground.”

Sylvia, Broward Correctional Institution, Inside Out Participant 1996




“The program consists of music, poetry, dance, beats and rhythms. See people fail to remember that we have talents too. In the program even if you don’t want to participate you leave the group feeling energized and happy. I got a lot out of this program it gave me hope and a new outlook of art. I really think that this program helps the youth and teaches every single person who participates something so please keep funding this program.”

Girls Advocacy Project (GAP), Breaking Free participant 2006






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