The Correctional Arts ReEntry (CARE) Project is an inmate art social enterprise program designed by WorkNet, a non-profit that provides reentry services for inmates transitioning to the community. The CARE project markets and sells the artwork of incarcerated artists so they can earn money for their reentry to the community.
In January 2016, we launched the CARE Project at the Women's prison in Kailua (WCCC). The program is still active today and has become very popular with the WCCC women because they can earn money and doing their art is very therapeutic. When their art sells, proceeds are split between the inmate artist and WorkNet to help us continue the program. We also developed a partnership with the Na'mea Gallery at Ward Center that sells on consignment original cards designed by one of our community artists.
What we found with the CARE project is that inmate art is a vehicle to break down biases, preconceived ideas, and stereotypes about people in prison. People who buy the artwork see an artist instead of an inmate locked up in prison. We enhance this experience by having each artist write a short bio about themselves and their artwork so that their stories of resilience and redemption can be heard. The ultimate goal is to create an understanding and awareness that those in prison are worthy of our compassion and kindness and should not be discarded by society. Doing so is a waste of human potential and talent as these artists fully demonstrate.
The latest stats on incarceration are astounding. 1 out of every 3 citizens in the US is in prison. The startling fact that the growing number of females behind bars has increased by over 800% in the last three decades leaves a unique vulnerability in families across the country. Our hope is that by growing this art program we can help shift societal attitudes towards offenders by telling their' stories and showcasing their artistic talent.
Funded by Oahu, HI (April 2019)