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Finding Beauty and Joy in Unexpected Places

Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 11:04 am

Art program for women in the Grundy County Detention Center stimulates creativity

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum recently announced the development of an art program for women in the Grundy County Detention Center. The program, organized by Dana Rasch, Americorps VISTA Recovery and Reentry Coordinator, and led by former South Cumberland Community Fund Americorps VISTA, Hilda Vaughan, encourages incarcerated women to explore their creativity.

Class participants apply and go through a selection process before admission to the program, which meets weekly on Friday afternoons.

Each week, the women create a different form of art including collage, sculpture, Mandala drawings, and acrylic paintings. The program teaches participants to tap into their creative potential to create beauty and joy in their lives.

“We are excited about the possibilities this program brings to our inmates. The benefits now and the residual effects later will help those participating operate with a clear mind and a committed heart,” said Shrum.

At the conclusion of the first program, the Sheriff’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, and the South Cumberland Community Fund will co-sponsor a reception for program participants, allowing them to display and talk about their artwork as a way for them to reintroduce themselves to the world through art. The reception will be on March 18, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., in the Grundy County Courthouse.

The public is invited to attend. Desserts and refreshments will be provided by the University of the South’s Sewanee Dining.

The art program is a new initiative of the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office Recovery and Reentry Program which already offers inmates an opportunity to participate in educational programs, career readiness courses, a greenhouse and gardening program, a meditation program, and peer-based recovery groups.

Students participating in the inaugural are class are Heather Oakes, Crissy Bridges, Amanda Johnson, Ashley Casort, and Sheila Prater.