Auburn’s prison arts project will continue with new NEA grant

Art work created by inmates in Alabama prisons who participate in Auburn University’s Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project.AUBURN UNIVERSITY –The Alabama Prison Arts + Education project at Auburn University has provided visual arts classes in multiple correctional facilities around the state since 2003. A recent $55,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts helps ensure the programming will continue.

The program is housed in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Sciences at Auburn. Under a partnership with the Alabama Department of Corrections, it offers semester-long arts, sciences and English classes in 10 correctional facilities across the state. Program Director Kyes Stevens said there are plans to reach into even more facilities in 2015.

“We believe it’s important for the adult prison population to gain a quality education, and also to build a relationship with learning that will continue to grow for the rest of their lives,” she said.

The NEA uses its Art Works program to support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and powerful art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

This is the seventh NEA Art Works grant Auburn’s program has received since its inception in 2003. Stevens said the NEA is its largest funding source and considers the grant the backbone of the programming. The grant will fund not only programming through 2015, but also the production of the next anthology of student work. An anthology is produced and sold every two years.

“Art classes provide a place for those who want to learn to come and develop critical thinking and processing skills that are not only relevant to making good art, but can also impact individuals in other aspects of their lives,” Stevens said.

For more information about the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, go to www.auburn.edu/apaep.

(Contributed by Amy Weaver.)

Contacts: Kyes Stevens, Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, (334) 844-8946 (kyes@auburn.edu),

Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)