Alabama Prison Arts and Education project gains national recognition

AUBURN – The Alabama Humanities Foundation was recently awarded the 2006 Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize in recognition of its sponsorship of the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project’s “Pilot Course in a Survey of Southern Literature.” Presented annually by the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Schwartz Prize recognizes outstanding public humanities programs.

The Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project is a program of the Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. It sponsors classes in creative writing, visual arts, Southern literature, African American literature, Alabama history and photography in several facilities and supports library development at fifteen facilities in Alabama.

The Alabama Humanities Foundation provided a $2,250 grant to the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project in 2005 to support the pilot course in Southern literature, and an additional $6,900 in 2006 to support more classes in the humanities.

The Schwartz Prize was awarded to AHF for sponsorship of “Pilot Course in a Survey of Southern Literature” because, according to the judges, “The judges found this groundbreaking program, which brings writers and scholars into prisons to teach courses in literature with an emphasis on political and social contexts in which these works were produced, to be an incredibly moving and well-documented illustration of the potential of the humanities to empower neglected and marginalized groups.”

“We were very surprised and honored to receive this distinguished award from the Federation of State Humanities Councils,” said Robert Stewart, executive director of the Alabama Humanities Foundation. “The Foundation was pleased to have provided funding for the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project, as we have had a long history of funding and partnering with the Auburn University Center for Arts and Humanities on innovative educational projects. To have this national recognition is certainly a high point in that mutually supportive relationship.”

For more information, contact the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project at (334) 844-4946, or visit the Web at www.auburn.edu/cah/apaep.

(Contributed by Kyes Stevens.)

Contact: Kyes Stevens, (334) 844-8946 (stevemk@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)