Our students become the narrators of their own stories
and the authors of their own futures.
Free Write Arts & Literacy engages incarcerated and court-involved youth and young adults in the performing, visual, and literary arts so that they become the narrators of their own stories and the authors of their futures. By co-designing creative space with our students, Free Write supports them as they develop educational and career opportunities that reduce recidivism while also contributing to the public discourse around issues of youth incarceration.
By engaging in one-on-one literacy tutoring and workshops in creative writing, visual art, music production, and workforce development, Free Write students build competencies in reading and writing, art making, technical skills, community building, and critical thinking. Students hone and exemplify these skills through publication, exhibition, and performance opportunities in the detention center and in the community.
In the summer of 2000, Free Write began working one-on-one with incarcerated youth in hopes of improving their print literacy skills. The program readily expanded to include creative writing workshops, resulting in a densely packed and widely distributed anthology of student writing. In over 15 years of engagement, Free Write has published seven of these anthologies, several ‘zines, countless chapbooks by individual students, and much more.