March 27, 2019

Reentry Through the Arts Afro-Colombian drumming class at Homeboy Industries.

ACTA is excited to launch a new program: Reentry Through the Arts. Specially designed for individuals who are returning to their communities following incarceration, this 18-week program centers on two traditional arts workshop series in Los Angeles:  Mexican son jarocho music, dance, and verse at the Amity Foundation, and Afro-Colombian percussion at Homeboy Industries. The Reentry Through the Arts program marries traditional arts practice with relevant resources from our partners at The Wellness Center, an organization dedicated to providing culturally sensitive wellness and prevention services in Los Angeles.

The conception of a reentry program was inspired by participants from our Arts in Corrections programs who took part in classes on traditional music, storytelling, drawing, and other participatory forms. These students expressed a desire to continue practicing traditional arts as part of their personal health and well-being even after their release.ACTA recognizes that the formerly incarcerated population is a marginalized sector of people in need of healing, affirmation, and fresh inspiration. This reentry program creates new opportunities for returning citizens to come together in an environment designed to reinforce the affirmation of cultural identity, a sense of belonging, and communal engagement through the shared experience of art-making. Through our partnership with the Wellness Center, we’ve also been able to build in a direct pathway through which participants can receive regular and simplified access to legal aid, family services, and health advocacy as part of the workshop experience.

Collectively titled Son de Libertad, the two workshops give participants the opportunity to engage with each art form in depth over a significant period of time, building their skills and cultivating a network of participants as each week progresses. The workshop series will culminate in celebratory fandangos, the participatory party traditional to son jarocho practice. Participants will share their skills with family, friends, and anyone who would like to join.

We are excited to be kicking off this program with a wonderful group of artists who have many years of experience working in with incarcerated populations: Afro-Colombian percussionists Alberto Lopez and Eduardo Martinez, and son jarocho musicians Xochi Flores and Federico Zuniga Jr. We are in the middle of piloting this new program, and all formally incarcerated individuals are welcomed to join! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see this program at work, and contact Program Coordinator Jasmin Temblador for more information: | (213) 346-3285.

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