Art empowers individuals to share their experiences and become advocates for change. For those with justice involvement, making art is particularly helpful in processing complex emotions, healing from trauma, and remaining engaged in productive behavior.
At Fortune, we cultivate artistic expression every day through our Creative Arts program. Our annual Creative Arts Festival provides an amazing opportunity to share this work with the greater public. This year was no exception: Over the month-long celebration, our participants showcased original drawings, poetry, music, films, and more.
Enjoy the originality and imagination of our community through the highlights below:
Students from Fortune Instructor and Grant Writer Jamie Maleszka’s creative writing class performed original pieces at both our Long Island City headquarters and The Fortune Academy (“the Castle”), our housing development in West Harlem.
Participants in Art Instructor Guy Woodward’s class hosted an exhibit of powerful drawings that reflected each of their experiences with the criminal justice system, and the struggles they have faced during and since incarceration.
Led by Melvin McCray of Digital Media Training Program in Harlem, students in the Youth Empowerment Television video journalism class record their reality and share it with the world. During the Creative Arts Festival, these talented filmmakers screened their work and answered questions from the audience.
Here are two of their films:
Fortune’s monthly Music Café was open to the public during the festival. This lunchtime event, which is run in an open mic format, showcases the varied musical talents of Fortune staff, participants, and supporters.
Artist Rick “Wind” Herrera visited our offices to screen a video of his play, “The Naked Truth.” The show, written and performed by Herrera, is a comedic yet emotional piece about his experience growing up in Brooklyn projects. The video screening was followed by an audience question-and-answer period.
Interested in learning more and supporting our Creative Arts program?
Our Impact of the Creative Arts publication features an overview of the classes we offer. Additionally, the latest edition of Voices of Fortune highlights more poetry, prose, and artwork from our community, and past blog posts on Creative Arts staff and students provides further insight on the long-term impact of arts education.
*Article by Carmen Rojas