The program, I Believe II / The South Dakota Prison Project, is led by Albright and Suzanne Costello, co-director of the Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theatre Company. It is a sequel to the successful 2022-2023 initiative at the South Dakota State’s Men’s Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

Funded by a South Dakota Department of Health Innovation Grant, the intensive two-week residency includes four hours of daily workshops in visual arts, writing, movement and theater, exploring personal beliefs and fostering self-expression. The project culminates in an art exhibit and performance.

The culminating I Believe II Art Exhibit & Performance will be presented on Friday, May 10, at 2 p.m. for inmates and at 6 p.m. for staff and approved visitors. It will take place in the Visitors’ Room at the Mike Durfee State Prison.

“The goals of this innovative program are to positively impact barriers prevalent in carceral settings, promote mental wellness through creative expression and provide tools for personal growth,” Albright said. “Further, this initiative seeks to foster connections and empathy among this community, impacting greater prison culture.”

The I Believe I & II projects extend beyond the prisons and into the community. The artwork created during the residencies will be showcased in a touring art exhibit, Arts & Incarceration, to museums and galleries across South Dakota and Minnesota from 2024-2026. These exhibitions will include gallery talks to facilitate dialogue and understanding for audiences outside the prisons.

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