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Sister to Sister Project
11 Sep 2013
Published To

“In 2010, I worked with three other women artists to create a poetry and art exchange between an informal women's writing group in London and a group of female inmates in the Whitley County Detention Center through a project called Sister to Sister.  The project was even more successful than we had hoped in connecting women through creativity and compassion.  But it also made us shockingly aware of the intense need that women in county jails have for a creative outlet that builds their self-esteem and validates them as multi-dimensional women, not just prisoners.  I was stunned to see how much had been taken from these women.   Many had lost their homes, custody of their children, and their very dignity and self-respect.  While some had a shaky support system on the outside, others knew they would emerge from weeks or months in jail homeless and friendless. There was no attempt to provide rehabilitative services or counseling to these women.  At first I felt inadequate to provide help to them, but I soon discovered that what we brought, the opportunity to express themselves creatively in a supportive environment, was a lifeline for them.  As one woman said ‘This program lets us relate to each other in a different way, away from the petty quarrels in our cells.  In here, we're not afraid to express ourselves and to support each other.’”

-Judy Sizemore


The artist or arts organization telling this story was supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. KFW is based on the belief that when women and girls advance, so does Kentucky. For more information about the foundation and the social change artmaking being done by the individuals and organizations it supports, visit www.kfw.org." 


Art Poetry Education Empowerment Gender Justice Recovery Rural-Urban Women Activism Books/Writing Project/Initiative Appalachia Southeast Activist Organizer Visual Artist Writer inmates
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