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Metro Arts Announces 2019/2020 Restorative Arts Projects for Partnership with Juvenile Court

Emily Waltenbaugh

Funded Projects Will Bring Visual, Literary and Performing Arts Interventions to Court-Involved Youth

Six local nonprofit organizations will bring arts instruction and mentoring to youth involved with the juvenile court system as the Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s (Metro Arts) board of commissioners Thursday approved funding for their 2019-2020 Restorative Arts project proposals.

Restorative Arts is a partnership of Metro Arts, Judge Sheila Calloway and the Nashville/Davidson County Juvenile Court, and the Oasis Center. Begun in 2016 as a Public Investment Plan (PIP) pilot, the program’s marked impact led to its inclusion in the Metro operating budget.

Through this year’s projects, approved at the Commission’s September meeting, court-involved youth will engage in a wide range of arts interventions, such as using instruments and software to create music, interviewing local police officers to establish connections while learning storytelling skills, building communication skills through writing workshops, and discovering healthy outlets through world music and dance.

“Children need to know that they have value,” said Nashville and Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway, “And that’s one thing they learn from restorative justice programs: that they’re not just the decisions they’ve made in the past. It hurts my heart to see youth without hope, and with Restorative Arts, they find hope.”

“Studies show that adding arts to diversion programs dramatically improves children’s graduation rates, social-emotional skills and community engagement,” said Metro Arts Executive Director Caroline Vincent. “And our own survey of Restorative Arts participants showed statistically significant increases in youth self-awareness, self-management, and relationship skills after participating in the program. Metro Arts is proud to help bring these artists and organizations into the Juvenile Court system and grateful to Judge Calloway for her dedication to Nashville’s youth.“

For a full list of 2019-20 Restorative Arts projects and descriptions, visit the program announcement at

About Metro Arts

Metro Arts is the Nashville Office of Arts + Culture. Our mission is to drive a vibrant and equitable community through the arts. Metro Arts strives to ensure that all Nashvillians have access to a creative life, and we work toward this goal through community investments, artist and organizational training, public art and creative placemaking, and direct programs involving residents in all forms of arts and culture. Metro Arts receives operational support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and additional information is available online at