ASU Gammage educational outreach celebrates 15 years
For 15 years, local theater/storytelling artist Fatimah Halim has worked with nearly 300 inmates through Journey Home, an arts residency program designed to enable incarcerated women to discover a personal sense of constructive identity through performance, visual arts, creative writing and storytelling.
Halim, of Life Paradigms Inc., conducts Journey Home in collaboration with ASU Gammage.
At 3 p.m., March 28, 25 incarcerated women (ages 21 to 55) will participate in the program's 15th annual public performance at Estrella Jail in Phoenix.
For six weeks prior to the public performance, the inmates meet weekly and go through training in movement, visual arts, creative writing and storytelling. The intent is to help them build personal skills and self-esteem, and demonstrate alternative methods to avert destructive behavior through the arts. The women then begin to see themselves as productive, creative people.
“The Journey Home program has changed my life," said Sandra*, a past participant in Journey Home. "I mentally transformed into the woman I wanted to become.”
This year’s theme is “Living By Design, Not by Default.” The theme reflects on the value of finding purpose and joy internally rather than being controlled by outside influences.
The team also includes director and choreographer Teniqua Broughton and mental health specialist Imani Muhammad.
The program originated in 2001 from dancer/choreographer Pat Graney’s national program, “Keeping the Faith” prison project. Since that time, ASU Gammage has sustained the event locally. The program has allowed the inmates to develop tools to make positive choices and encourages them to break the negative patterns in their lives.
“Journey Home has allowed these women to develop creative tools that can help them make positive choices, and encourages them to break the negative patterns that lead to incarceration," said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Gammage. "We are the only performing arts venue in the country doing work like this within the prison system; it goes back to our mission of connecting communities.”
The media is invited to witness the women’s final performance and to observe some of the six-week workshops. RSVP no later than March 26 to guarantee a spot by emailing Dana McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Sandra's full name has been witheld for privacy.