Alabama Prison Arts Project

By Dianne Walker

The Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project fledged from a passion Kyes Stevens has for creating a better world for prisoners by providing educational opportunities that were far out of their reach. 

When Stevens was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts her enthusiasm for educating prisoners became a reality. She is the founder and director of the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project that now serves inmates housed in correctional facilities throughout central and northern Alabama. 

Steven’s first visit to the prison teaching poetry revealed her compassion for her students and her love of teaching.

The objective at inception of the program was to improve the lives of inmates by providing education and exposure to the arts.

When Stevens initiated the program she did not anticipate remuneration in return for accomplishing her dreams. She and the professors that work with the program experienced personal revolutions beyond their anticipation. Educating prisoners as an avenue to transform their view of what is possible for them has opened the educator’s eyes to humbleness they didn’t know existed. 

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