ART 180

Arts programming for youth who are incarcerated

Grantee Cohort Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

Location Virginia

Founded in 1998, ART 180 creates and provides art-related programs for young people ages 8 to 18 living in challenging circumstances in Richmond, Virginia, encouraging personal and community change through self-expression. ART 180 is a leader in creative youth development and works with 400 young people each year, encouraging them to be catalysts for change, to communicate powerful messages, and to start conversations through their art.

Art for Justice funding supported the Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art program, which works with young people trapped in the school-to-prison pipeline to sharpen their advocacy and leadership skills, and share their experiences and visions for change. To capitalize on the subsequent increased national attention, ART 180 expanded Performing Statistics to a national level, creating a separate organization to accelerate the juvenile justice reform movement across the United States with a planning grant from Art for Justice.

Then Performing Statistics, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) joined together to create a five-day mini-residency of Performing Statistics’ touring exhibition in Los Angeles. The Performing Statistics exhibition features art created by youth in Virginia detention centers and was created to start conversations among activists, policymakers, youth and the general public about juvenile justice systems and the need for reform. Following the exhibition, youth from Arts for the Los Angeles County branch of the Incarcerated Youth Network plan to travel to other cities along the tour, sharing information about the exhibit with other AIYN members, artists, educators and youth. At the same time as the tour, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission will convene an interagency youth arts task force, including multiple public agencies that work with vulnerable youth, to promote the role of the arts in all agency services for youth.