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Restorative Justice and the Arts

Metro Arts Restorative Justice and the Arts Logo

The Restorative Justice and the Arts program is a partnership with Metro Arts, the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) and the Oasis Center to create an arts-integrated intervention system for court-involved youth that focuses on resiliency, positive youth development, and restoring empowered youth and families.

Under the leadership of Judge Sheila Calloway, JJC officials support court-involved youth to heal, grow and thrive by assessing each individual’s skills and needs and connecting them and their families to resources aimed at health and well-being. As there is growing evidence that long term, sustained arts learning and arts experiences have deep and lasting positive impact on children’s cognitive development, through this partnership, we are helping to facilitate artists to create programming inclusive of children and youth who have been involved with the justice system. Through these arts interactions, youth develop a growing capacity for emotional attachment, empathy, reasoning, decision-making, trust, self-identity, and self and community esteem.

Our goal is to provide youth with arts experiences that provide opportunities for mentorship in protective environments that emphasize ways youth can shine and be celebrated.

Through quality programming that is trauma-informed and anchored in positive youth development practices, the program positions the arts as a part of restorative practice and creates a protective environment for court-involved youth to heal, grow and thrive. Introducing them to a wide variety of art forms (drumming, dance, theater, spoken word, visual art, etc.) not only unlocks their potential by teaching skills in perseverance, self-expression, empathy, community building, but also empowers the youth to make more positive choices.

The Restorative Justice & the Arts program is funded through the Public Investment Plan (PIP) initiative. Learn more at the Restorative Just & the Arts PIP story page.

FY19 Restorative Justice & the Arts Guidelines

Contact Rebecca Kinslow at or 615-862-6737 with questions.

Approved/funded programs for 2018/19

Each heading below is an artist or organization.

From the Heart International Foundation

Working With: Margaret Allen Middle School and Juvenile Detention Center

Music for LIFE: Through music workshops/rehearsals, master classes, and performances, participants will explore themes of community, choice, accountability, responsibility, contribution, and leadership through vocal and instrumental music and the latest component--audio recording. We will meet with the cohorts of students who may be struggling academically or socially and emotionally during the academic year.

Gideon’s Army: Grassroots Army for Children

Working With: Pearl Cohn High School

Youth-Led Residency: We will provide safe space for youth through Theater of the Oppressed to connect with the North Nashville community and city agencies to use their voices and talents to find tangible and doable solutions to youth violence in Nashville. Our youth will inform Restorative Justice programs and work for Metro Arts.

Global Education Center

Working With: Juvenile Detention Center (in detention and post-detention)

Roots, Rhythm and Rhyme: provides opportunities for students housed at the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center to explore using the arts to express the ups and downs of daily life through creative writing, music production and expressive dance. It also provides opportunities for students to continue in these art forms, as well as explore additional ones, after their release through ongoing programming at the Global Education Center’s two sites in Northwest and Southeast Nashville. Students involved in music production will also help create an online outlet for the sharing of their music with family and friends.

Joseph Love

Working With: Pearl Cohn High School Students

Culture: The purpose of this program is to uplift our children through a historic and artistic exploration of African cultures on the continent of Africa and in the Diaspora. We will reconnect our youth to their history, helping them to better understand their cultural history of techniques, methods of solving problems, methods of economic development and empowerment, learned methods of dealing with collective and individual issues, as well as a their history of resiliency in order to heal trauma, develop families and communities that believe in their collective power, and rebirth the strength in culture we have struggled so hard to hold on to as Africans in the Diaspora.

One Voice Nashville

Working With: Juvenile Detention Center

UnLocked: One Voice Nashville (OVN) will work with approximately 10 students at the Davidson County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) between the ages of 14-18 upon nomination by the site principal, OVN Director, and student input. OVN Director will meet with students in the program once per week using a social-emotional curriculum helping students build skills in personal storytelling and writing. Each student will be given one-on-one Story Session times, (3 sessions total), with a mentor trained by OVN Director to help coach them in the story creation process before a final showcase at the facility. Beyond the student showcase, students will be invited to have one of their family members or the Story Mentor they worked with read their story on a local radio station to help build bridges and close gaps in the Nashville community.

Jon Royal

Working With: Oasis Center

August Wilson Gets REAL: matches the work of the one of the American Theatre’s most celebrated playwrights with the curriculum of the Recognizing Excellence as Leaders program, that was founded by Ron Johnson. Scenes from Wilson’s ten play, twentieth century cycle, that correspond with issues and topics that participants in R.E.A.L. have been working with, have been selected, and prepared for performance during weekly sessions of the program. When the actors are done, the young men question the actors while still in character, about their decisions and choices, hopefully stimulating dialogue that touches on their own lives.

Southern Word

Working With: Juvenile Detention Center

Grounding Identity Through Words and Music: Southern Word will engage youth through weekly spoken word and music production workshops offered at the Juvenile Detention Center from September to June. Southern Word will also work with probation officers to integrate an 8 week workshop series with their caseloads and probation plans. The goals of the project are as follows: introduce writing and music as a means of processing life experiences and expressing oneself; teach written and oral communication skills; identify and strengthen youth’s aptitudes in music production; and work intensively with highly engaged students to develop creative projects and mentor relationships that can be sustained outside of the Detention Center.

Thandiwe Shiphrah

Working With: Juvenile Detention Center, Coleman Park Community Center

“It Works for Me” Residency on Youth Resiliency: It Works for Me is a 12-week project that combines creative/reflective writing, dialogue, and visual art making to explore the topic of youth resiliency. The project’s goals are to encourage reflection, enhance critical thinking, and enable participants to develop positive and enriching relationships and life experiences. Workshops will take place in two phases at two locations (Juvenile Detention Center and Coleman Park) and will culminate in a public art exhibition in March of 2019.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC)

Working With: Gang Resistance Intervention Program (GRIP) of the Juvenile Justice Center -- youth and probation officers

My Place: Discovering Self-Identity Within Community: Teaching artists Amanda Cantrell Roche and Jon Royal will facilitate weekly sessions for at least one class during 2018-19. The project, titled “My Place” will launch in the fall of 2018. The project will reach a class of 10-14 youth and six probation officers and will incorporate the interests and abilities of the participants including storytelling and painting.