Transforming Women's Lives Through Art in Prison
What if women in prison could tap into their past and change their future? What if art could turn pain into beauty?
Through individual and collaborative artwork, participants in Prison Fellowship’s restorative art program develop a sense of community, restoration, peace, purpose, and identity, as they work in harmony alongside volunteers and prison staff. Rooted in Scripture and the core values of the Prison Fellowship Academy®, Create: New Beginnings® empowers women to acknowledge critical emotions and develop self-awareness through the lens of artistic expression.
Create: New Beginnings includes 10 workshops that create a peaceful atmosphere through melodic music and art activities. This allows for a safe space where women feel free to open up and realize they are not alone. And, they are both reassured and challenged by the Scriptures and discussion woven throughout each workshop.
Create: New Beginnings is currently active in seven states and growing. More than 450 women living in prison have participated in the restorative art workshops.
Since beginning in 2017, we have learned that women living in prison often feel isolated and alone. In general, they have much less communication with each other and less visitations with their families and spouses than men living in prison. We quickly began to realize that Create: New Beginnings would provide the safe space they need to discuss topics that are often taboo in prison culture, such as sources of shame and self-doubt. Create: New Beginnings could also emphasize the importance of having healthy relationships, as well as create an environment in which they can be open and vulnerable with one another.
Create: New Beginnings® workshops guide incarcerated women to recognize, name, and move through their emotions—even the most difficult ones—using art. And prisoners aren’t the only ones who benefit from this approach. Take few minutes to reflect on Scripture, and try these calming art exercises based on Create: New Beginnings in-prison workshops. Use the button below to register for the next live workshop!
"I have never discussed my abuse much before, but I realize through this art that I have been in this dark place all these years. Doing this art project has helped me to see that I can be in a better place, a brighter place, and that’s what I want to work towards."
- Program Participant, Minnesota
"I recognized that I hold on to a lot of unforgiveness. It was kind of hard, and kind of scary to look at that, but I see that is necessary if I want to be better"
- Program Participant, California