Arts Learning

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Jennifer L. Hicks AKA Jennifer Bowen Hicks
Recipient Type
Start Date
November 2014
End Date
November 2015
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 137, Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 3
Appropriation Language

ACHF Arts Education

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop will provide learners at six Minnesota prison facilities access to in-depth arts experience that deepens a habit of art and fosters a writing community inside underserved prisons. We'll track the number of inmates who have arts access for the first time, the number of inmates who attend readings given by peers, the number of peer-mentors that participate, and we'll administer evaluations to learners. 2: Previously underserved Minnesotans and their incarcerated peers will have greater access to art and peer groups within prison. Public will also engage in the work of incarcerated writers. Success is evaluated through discussions, written work and evaluations that assess workshops' impact on the students and students' audience. We'll track postcard responses to students' public readings.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Instructors taught creative writing to incarcerated Minnesotans in nineteen ten-week courses in under serviced state prisons. For each course, we administered beginning and end evaluations to students, and averaged their responses program wide. For audience feedback, we solicited responses to student work. The audience provided over 250 affirming and specific postcards of feedback and praise, which we were then able to share with each writer. Dr. Sharon Preves, a sociologist at Hamline University, redesigned our evaluations for 2015. These new evaluations greatly reduced the chance of error when filling out an evaluation and gave us new and clearer insight into our students’ experiences. 2: We were able to teach approximately 160 incarcerated Minnesotans who've never had a creative writing class in prison. We counted students in each class. We distributed evaluations in each class. In addition, we passed out hundreds of postcards throughout the night of the public reading. Audience members were instructed to raise their hands if they ran out of postcards, which many did, often. They were a generous group and filled their cards with specific, concrete feedback on both the writing and the experience of hearing the writing in a room full of DOC staff, writers, friends and family members of the incarcerated, and former students. For this first time this year, two of our former students, now released, came to read their own work.

Source of Additional Funds

Other, local or private

Recipient Board Members
Jennifer Hicks, Nicodemus Taranovsky, Peter Pearson
Project Overview
Arts Learning
Project Details
Instructors teach creative writing to incarcerated Minnesotans in nineteen 10-week courses and incorporate peer mentoring. Inmates give readings and compile a journal. Instructors host a public reading of inmate work and audience responds via postcards.
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Jennifer L. Hicks AKA Jennifer Bowen Hicks
(651) 955-9537
Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Ardell Brede: Mayor of Rochester, elected 2002.; Peggy Burnet: Businesswoman, art collector, and community volunteer. Chair of the Nominating Committee, Smithsonian National Board. Trustee, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Vice Chair, Minnesota State Arts Board.; Michael Charron: Dean of the School of the Arts, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Chair, Minnesota State Arts Board.; Wendy Dayton: Arts and community leader and philanthropist.; Sean Dowse: Executive director, Sheldon Theatre. Board member for Minnesota Music Coalition, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies; Treasurer, Minnesota State Arts Board.; David Glenn, Executive director of the Minnesota Project, ceramic artist; Ellen McInnis: Director of Twin Cities government relations, Wells Fargo. Member of Bottineau Boulevard Partnership. Vice Chair, Minnesota State Arts Board.; Thomas Moss: Consultant to nonprofits and government agencies; Janice Sivertson: Gallery owner and visual artist
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
David Beard: Associate professor of rhetoric, writing studies department, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Camilla Berry: Practicing artist with nursing and education credentials; Amy Giddings: Music specialist, North Shore Community School, Duluth; Jennifer Penzkover: Coordinator, Saint Cloud Arts Commission.; Daniel Stark: Associate Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Joanne Toft: Private educational arts consultant
Conflict of Interest Disclosed