“You guys may not know you help mend hearts when you come into prisons, so I'm here to let you know that you have helped mend mine.”
— Gabe, an inmate at Chippewa Correctional
Facility after attending a creative writing workshop
PCAP links pedagogy with practice by training college students to facilitate arts workshops. Various PCAP courses taught at the University of Michigan serve as gateways for undergraduate participation in arts workshops and provide structured support for the workshops as well as academic training in issues surrounding incarceration and practical skills in the arts.
Facilitator teams (generally 2-3 PCAP members) recognize that all workshop participants are artists and know that it is their responsibility to foster an environment of equals where everyone can put forth their individual talents, energy, and vision. We open creative spaces in institutions where they do not exist and enter equally with the other participants, bringing—as they do—our individual energies and skills.
These workshops take place on a weekly basis in Michigan adult correctional facilities, juvenile facilities, and urban high schools. Through individual and group activities, honest discussion, and hard work, each workshop creates original art in the form of plays, writing, dance, music, and visual art that is ultimately shared with others through performances and/or exhibitions.
As of April 2015, we achieved a record number of 34 active workshops at 13 sites with 72 facilitators. Meanwhile in April 2015, for the first time in PCAP's history, our facilitators held a series of creative writing workshops at Marquette Branch Prison in the Upper Peninsula and Newberry Correctional Facility.