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An evening of performance at a women's prison in WA state

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Our HISTORY


Keeping the Faith—the Prison Project (non-religious) is an arts residency program that uses performance, visual art and creative writing as vehicles to enable incarcerated women and girls to discover a sense of identity within themselves and to develop that identity within the context of community. Pat Graney Company has conducted this three-month program working with performing and visual artists, filmmakers, musicians and writers for sixteen years in correctional facilities for women in Washington State.  Each year, the program culminates in a performance in which the participating women perform their own movement and writing, and display the visual art they have created during the program for 200 members of the general public, prison staff and 300 of their incarcerated peers.


Described by The New York Times as “one of the nation’s most innovative (programs) for prison inmates,” Keeping the Faith has provided the rare opportunity for incarcerated women to take a deep look at the issues that led to their incarceration as well as the effect that their behavior has had on their families, friends, children and communities.


For approximately 75 female ex-offenders releasing each year to the Greater Seattle area (from WCCW, MCCCW & HBR) and their children, this mentoring, arts-based education and performance project will complement the work of our community partners to specifically:

  • Reduce the rates of recidivism for women who participate;
  • Increase women’s chances of successful re-entry and integration into their communities;
  • Reduce the likelihood of the participant’s children being victimized or involved in crime; and
  • Increase community understanding and support for crime prevention through social development (CPSD) through the media of published anthologies of writing, performance DVDs, public readings and performances; and through regular speaking engagements at Neighborhood Meetings, feature successful ex-offenders sharing their stories.


This year's project is at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women (MCCCW) in Belfair, Washington. The 17th year of this artists-in-residency program began on February 16, 2011 and will continue until the performances – May 13 and 14. We are already working, but we are doing our work on a wing and a prayer. 


Our PRESENT


28 incarcerated women

13 weeks

4 artists

1 evening length performance


Under the direction of Michaela Leslie-Rule (writer, filmmaker, researcher) three Seattle artists will work with the women over 13 weeks to create an ensemble performance piece and perform it for 300 of their incarcerated peers and 200 members of the general public over two nights: May 13 and 14. Uniquely, the two populations will be part of a single audience – absorbing stories, music and memories together.


We are honored this year to have a ridiculously talented trio of performing artists contributing their knowledge, creative force and and aesthetics to this year's project. Ivory Smith (vocalist and composer), Zeke Keeble (composer, musician, performer) and Marcus Garrison (a founding member of the world renown dance crew Massive Monkees) are working with the women to create an original score and evening-length performance piece.


The theme for this year's project is portraiture. In particular the exploration of how an individual identity is a construction of how we see ourselves; how we are seen by our families/friends/children/siblings; and how we want to be seen. In exploring this, and with the permission of the women in the project, we will create our first dual-layered project - one that seeks to incorporate stories from both inside and outside of the facility. Women in the KTF Project at Mission Creek Correctional Center for Women (MCCW) have identified family members and friends who they would like to contribute to the creation of this year's performance by recording short stories or memories of the women, and individual or family portraits. The stories (and voices) of these individuals will be incorporated into the score of the performance (layered with those of the women in the project) and the photographs will serve as both visual projections and components of the costumes.


YOU CAN BE A PART OF THIS!


28 women tell their stories

500 people listen


What We Need...

$7500.00

 

With your help:

We can provide our guest artists with a stipend for their work in the prison and support them in collaborating with one another outside of the prison to conceive, prepare and edit this year's score.


With your help:

We can reimburse our artistic director and our guest artists for their transportation expenses to and from the prison.


With your help:

Our guest artists will build a score that includes not only our ensembles' stories told in their own voices, but stories told by family and friends the women have asked to contribute to this year's piece.


With your help:

We can make and sell a CD of the original score and an anthology of the women's writings – generating funds for the 2012 KTF Project.


With your help:

Women who too often are silenced, will have an opportunity to be heard.


WITHOUT YOU...

We continue our work, but are not able to fully realize this year's theme and creative vision

We continue to work in the prison, but have less time with our collaborating artists; less opportunities to experiment and create together.

Without you, we have less.


RECAP:

We are already working in the prison! The project began on February 16 and will culminate with performances in May. You can make a difference with as little as $7 - which covers a one-way ferry ticket from Seattle to MCCW for one artist.


Other Ways You Can Help besides your donation:


  • Tell everyone you know about this project!
  • If you're in the Seattle area and have some expertise in video or photography - donate your time to document this important work.
  • Encourage friends and family to donate to the cause and if in the Seattle area come out to the performance in May.
  • This is important work... and we need you to keep it going.

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