The Kresge Foundation has announced the launch of a $1.2 million national initiative focused on using the arts to spark innovative approaches to community justice.
A joint effort of the foundation's Arts & Culture and Human Services programs and the Boys and Men of Color Working Group, the Culture of Justice initiative will support organizations working to integrate promising practices into local community development and human services systems; deepen the leadership roles of justice-involved residents, with a focus on boys and men of color; center social and economic mobility in those processes; and boost awareness of individuals and communities affected by injustice.
Five community-based organizations will receive grants of $240,000 in support of their efforts to use the arts to reimagine justice in their communities. They are Oakland-based Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, which engages communities in the design and development of buildings, spaces, and tools as a way to address the root causes of mass incarceration; Operation Restoration in New Orleans, which works to help women and girls affected by incarceration realize their potential; Performing Statistics in Richmond, which connects incarcerated teens with artists, designers, educators, and leading policy advocates in Virginia; Shooting Without Bullets in Cleveland, which provides art- and social justice-related programming to youth and houses a multidisciplinary artists collective; and Carnegie Hall in New York City, which will work to embed arts and culture into its Neighborhood Opportunity Network model, a citywide community justice reinvestment initiative.
"Justice reform efforts have already shifted the national dialogue from incarceration to prevention and diversion," said Joelle-Jude Fontaine, senior human services program director at the foundation, "but there still needs to be increased focus on how we truly center justice-involved residents’ social and economic mobility. Culture of Justice seeks to leverage arts and culture to more effectively address social and economic mobility for court-impacted populations and to build deeper partnerships with human services."
(Photo credit: Shooting Without Bullets)