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The ArtsAloud-OSU mission is to impact the lives of the incarcerated by devising original ensemble performance. By working in this intimate, collaborative manner, the participants discover a voice through which they can process and share their unique life perspectives in a constructive, process oriented environment.
By utilizing language, story, poetry, music as well as other forms of expression, the devising process helps inmates strengthen their internal locus of control, evaluate their own life experience and then share their work in a manner that highlights their shared humanity. This wonderfully positive, creative tool allows those involved to experience new levels of empathy and a shared humanity.
Additionally, the training allows those involved to begin to observe that which is inherently performative in everyday life, while finding incredible beauty in the seemingly mundane, thus opening the possibility of envisioning a new future.
ArtsAloud in the News
First performance by the women of Mabel Bassett Correctional Center
OSU’s Land Grant- Teaching- Research-Outreach
The long term goals of ArtsAloud- OSU are to train facilitators through OSU’s Masters in Theatre program, while expanding to other correctional institutions across the state, in accordance with OSU’s Land Grant Mission. This guiding principal states OSU’s goal of “improving the lives of people in Oklahoma…through high-quality teaching, research and outreach.”
The Mary Lou Lemon Endowment
Through the three year seed money of The Mary Lou Lemon Endowed Professorship, and the Professional Leadership of Jodi Jinks, we envision the facilitation of those creative activities that “promote human and economic development through the expansion of knowledge and its application” while empowering people through the theatre arts.
Public- Private Partnership
ArtsAloud- OSU seeks to develop future partnerships with private and public organizations to carry on the essential work of envisioning the development of human potential, ultimately impacting the state’s economy through a self-empowered, focused and innovative work force.
• We can hear each other and see our similarities when we share ourselves through ART.
• Everyone matters.
• “Our everyday life is worthy of performance.” (Deb Margolin)
• We are all much more than the worst thing we have done.
• Everyone is welcome.
• We are all alike in the ways that matter.
• OSU Theatre students perform or “give back” the prisoner’s stories sans judgment.
• Anonymity is an option.
• Remaining silent is an option.
• Art makes us human.
Below is a list of past, current, and future projects with ArtsAloud:
John H. Lilley Correctional Center (JLCC) ArtsAloud show on March 14, 2014
JLCC giveback on April 18, 2014
Jess Dunn Correctional Center (JDCC) ArtsAloud show on November 11, 2014
JDCC giveback on Nov 25, 2014
John H. Lilley Correctional Center (JLCC) ArtsAloud show on March 13, 2015
JLCC and giveback
Performance at Jess Dunn Correctional Center, Dec.2, 2015
Give Back, December 2, 2016
Monsters As Men, John Lilley Correctioanl Center, March 15, 2016
Give Back, March 15, 2016
Shades of Gray, Jess Dunn Correctional Center, April 22, 2016
Give Back, April 22, 2016
Fortune Cookies, Jess Dunn Correctional Center, December 2, 2016
Happiness, Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, February 2017
Give Back, February 2017
ArtsAloud-OSU classes began at the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in July 2014. Two theatre graduate students, Lacy Delaino and Susan Webb, accompanied Jodi Jinks to Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft, OK each Wednesday to watch ArtsAloud at work, or rather, at ART. On July 31st, a stiltifyingly hot, white afternoon, ten JDCC students performed their stories for 20 or so gray clad men seated in the Chapel’s folding chairs.
Give me a pen and I’ll give you my mind
Give me ink and I’ll give my heart
Give me paint and I’ll show you my soul
These were the opening words spoken by Frybread, a tattooed American Indian with a long, slender nose, long, slender fingers, and a black mohawk. He was quick with a smile and could tell a story that you’d never forget.
My brother parked the car ( ) and takes an electric skillet out of his trunk and plugs it in. He fills it with cooking oil, takes the three fish and washes it– black pepper and salt. Drips it in yellow corn meal and fries them. Plates, root beer, bread, mac‘n cheese. The rest is history. <pause> That was the last time I ate out with my dad.
Mr. Parker wrote this story. He remembered when he last shared a meal with his father, over fifty years ago by a fishing pond. Parker was a preacher who understood the sacredness of Art.
After the successful summer at Jess Dunn, Lacy Delaino accepted the position as lead teacher of ArtsAloud at that facility. Her new and larger class performed on November 11, 2014 to an audience of their peers. Two weeks later, a group of five OSU Theatre undergraduates entered the Jess Dunn prison and “gave back” the men’s play.
It is safe to say that all involved–the incarcerated students, the OSU Theatre students, and the audience were moved by the exchanging of theatre. One man in the audience asked the OSU students, “Did it feel dangerous to handle the sacred?” Anne Uhlman’s reply suggested that it did indeed. She feared that she would “mess up” one of the authors’ stories in spite of wanting to do it justice.
Lizard, a fiery redhead from JDCC offered that, “It was surreal to watch what we’d written played back for us.”
For two hours, forty or so people caught a glimpse of another part of life.
In June of 2016, ArtsAloud became a program of Mabel Bassett Correctional Center as well.