Arts-Based Workshops

Valuing Creative Voices

Through creative writing, theatre and other arts workshops, we build collaborative communities that serve as spaces for therapeutic healing and innovative thinking. Our workshops range from six to 40 sessions across 10 facilities within the Colorado Department of Corrections: Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center, Denver Women's Correctional Facility, Sterling Correctional Facility, Limon Correctional Facility, Buena Vista Correctional Facility, Four Mile Correctional Facility, Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, Fremont Correctional Facility, and La Vista Correctional Facility.

Our Creative Work

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Arts throughout all of the history of humanity have given us the human experience in a way that can be felt. We can feel each other's emotions that way. And I think through bringing that into prison it's allowing other people to heal who have never had an opportunity to.

DU PAI Incarcerated Participant
  • 2021 COVID-19 Response/Virtual Offerings

    Tell It Slant

    The "Tell It Slant: Reading & Writing Creative Nonfiction" workshop offers an exploration of creative nonfiction, one of the fastest-growing forms of writing in literature. Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, a recipe or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be any or all of these combined.

    Because creative writing involves both creativity and scholarship, coursework includes critical analysis of student and published writing; forming aesthetic judgments about creative nonfiction; writing and revising creative nonfiction; form and technique in creative nonfiction and responding to the creative work of classmates in a writing community.

    "Tell It Slant" will support participants in developing critical life skills such as: reading complex texts and analyzing them, putting their intuitive and affective responses to creative texts into language, writing critically and creatively, committing to a long-term goal and solving problems independently.

    The DU Prison Arts Initiative works closely with the University of Denver’s college of continuing and professional studies, University College, to explore possibilities for collaboration. Within University College, the Center for Professional Development (CPD) is designed to help lifelong learners develop new skills and refresh existing proficiencies so students can advance their careers. DU PAI is pleased to announce that for the first time, the course “Tell It Slant: Reading & Writing Creative Nonfiction” will be eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Continuing Education Units are transcripted non-credit bearing units that we hope to continue to offer to participants for culmination in a professional certificate signed by the Dean of University College. CEUs help participants provide evidence of learning for college and employment applications. We’re inspired to be working with these partners at DU that are passionate about making learning accessible to all and hope our collaboration with University College and the Center for Professional Development continues to expand and deepen.

  • 2020 COVID-19 Response/Virtual Offerings

    Imagining Worlds

    This workshop offers a brief survey of dramatic literature (plays), including modern 20th century plays and contemporary 21st century plays. Participants are asked to respond creatively to each of these readings, engaging their senses and intuition. They are given an introduction to the building blocks of theatre, play reading and playwriting, so that they may build a foundation of knowledge for how to critically read and respond to plays. We hope students will be able to apply these concepts to their own creative work, beyond the scope of dramatic literature.

    This course also supports participants in developing critical life skills such as: reading complex texts and analyzing them, putting their intuitive and affective responses to creative texts into language, writing critically and creatively, committing to a long-term goal, and solving problems independently.

    "Imagining Worlds" culminates with a selection of the students' original plays printed in an anthology that will be gifted to them and made available to the public, as well as featured in DU PAI's fall virtual showcase.

  • Sterling Correctional Facility

    Verbatim Play Production

    Incarcerated students learn about interview-based theatre in this workshop, which will culminate in a play production.

  • Limon Correctional Facility

    Production of Antigone

    Limon's production of the classic tragedy, Antigone, includes an in-house band.

  • Denver Women's Correctional Facility

    Let the Lit Move You

    In this workshop, students explore connections between literature and dance.

  • Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center

    Scene Study and Playwriting

    Participants explore the art of playwriting and acting under the guidance of theatre experts.

  • La Vista Correctional Facility

    Theatre Ensemble

    This workshop emphasizes collaboration and working together to explore theatre techniques. 

  • Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility

    Portable Magic Book Discussion Group

    Books open avenues for ongoing conversation in this workshop. 

  • Four Mile Correctional Facility

    Theatre Ensemble

    This workshop emphasizes collaboration and working together to explore theatre techniques.

  • Fremont Correctional Facility

    Writing the Breath

    A creative writing workshop led by cross-disciplinary creatives.

  • Colorado Correctional Center (Camp George West)

    Family Events

    A variety of arts-based events that bring families together.

Past Creative Projects

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