Village Church members and volunteers across the Kansas City community are working to reach out to men and women incarcerated at Lansing Correctional Facility. In partnership with the Arts in Prison program, inmates join volunteers to express themselves creatively.
Arts in Prison provides opportunities for inmates to prove that they are more than the sum of their crimes. By providing arts education and experiences for inmates in Kansas state prisons and detention centers, these members of society, who have been locked away and often forgotten, are given a chance for self-reflection and an opportunity to create something beautiful. Whether through writing, yoga and meditation, public speaking, performing arts, textiles or visual arts, inmates create something that brings joy to others.
Among the Arts in Prison programs, the East Hill Singers is a unique, internationally known prison chorus. Founded in 1995, the chorus has grown in size and prominence to include up to 50 inmate singers. The unique aspect of the chorus is the addition of volunteer singers from the surrounding community who are also chorus members. Normally, the chorus is comprised of about 50% inmates and 50% volunteers. Some Village members participate in the chorus on a regular basis.
The recidivism rate among former East Hill Singers, Arts in Prison’s longest running program, is 18% as compared to 32% for the state of Kansas and greater than 50% for the United States.
All Arts in Prison programs are led by volunteer instructors and Arlin is among those volunteers, teaching a poetry class. If you are interested in taking part in this program, Lansing requires volunteers to 21 years of age or older, to complete a volunteer application packet, a simple security check and Lansing’s volunteer training and to commit to five visits per year to the facility. Arts in Prison also accepts donations of art supplies for use in programs held inside corrections facilities. For example: yarn, plastic knitting needles and crochet hooks, acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, charcoal pencils, drawing paper, blank sheet music (manuscript paper), how to play instrument instruction books, composition books and journals.
If you would like to volunteer for an arts program, donate supplies or simply learn more about this service opportunity, call Arlin Buyert at 913-909-2915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Arlin leads a poetry group for 12 weeks in the spring and fall on Thursday nights.
Director of Mission