Founded in 2012 as a ministry of St. Paul’s, the Prison Story Project empowers men and women to find their voices through poetry, storytelling, and song. Our mission is to bridge the gap between inmates and the communities they are members of through the healing art of story.
The first NWA Prison Story Project was presented on Thursday, October 4, 2012. An INSIDE performance was presented to the inmates at a women’s correction center in Northwest Arkansas and later that evening an OUTSIDE performance was presented at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. This was a first for the prison and for the community.
For four months 12 incarcerated women met twice a week to explore the art of storytelling. They listened to each other, to guest artists, and to their own hearts. They told their stories through writing, reading, poetry, mask making, song writing, and life mapping. Their stories were collected, edited, and put together in a staged reading performed for them, their sister inmates, and prison staff at an INSIDE the prison performance and then on the OUTSIDE for the Northwest Arkansas community.
To date, the Prison Story Project has completed seven classes and performances of Stories from the Inside Out (with women) and three classes and performances of You Are Not Alone (with men). In 2016, the Prison Story Project spent six month’s working with men on Arkansas’ death row, which culminated in a performance called On the Row.
Find out more about the Prison Story Project on their website.