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Arts Commission

Cradle to Prison Pipeline School Desk Project

Districts: 2, 6, 8, 17, 18, 19, 21, 25, 26 and 33, Buena Vista, Trinity Hills, East Nashville, Madison, Berrl Hill Edgehill, Belmont, 12th South, Vanderbilt, Fisk, Cumberland Gardens, Green Hills, Harding Place, and Cane Ridge

Arte de Libertad/Freedom Arts, an artist collective comprised of Bobbilyn Negron, Ndume Olatushani, and Jairo Robles, was awarded $4,000 for the Cradle to Prison Pipeline School Desk Project. This project aimed to give historically marginalized communities disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system a three-dimensional canvas on which they could tell their story. The project engaged youth in re-purposing 30 vintage school desks (desk-chair combination) as “canvases” for a public art installation. Five after-school workshops were offered to inner-city high schools students where they were invited to share stories of how the criminal justice system has personally affected them, their family, or their community. They worked with artists of Freedom Arts to brainstorm and design collaborative artworks using the school desks, orange prison jumpsuits, painting supplies, recording devices with speakers, and other materials to voice their lived experience and bring the issue to the Nashville community at-large. The school desks were set up in traditional classroom rows as part of multiple public art installations.

Side shot of a desk with caption "If knowledge is the key, why do we have to pick the lock?" Image of banner with fists raised in solidarity.