Come to a community discussion with board members and organizers of the Arts Network for Youth and Justice (ANYJ), which helps coordinate the work of community-based arts education organizations with system-impacted youth. Interested artists and arts-based organizations are invited to learn more about the network and talk with ANYJ coordinators about if/how ANYJ could support work with system-impacted youth in Doña Ana County.
About the Facilitators
The Mission1: The Arts Network for Youth & Justice (ANYJ) provides structure and coordination for the collaborative work of community-based arts education organizations.
ANYJ is made up of people who envision a future where youth are empowered, and where the systems that serve them are transformed by centering arts as a way to build the wellbeing of young people and their communities.
We serve system-impacted youth in New Mexico, leveraging the reach and expertise of our members to amplify impact, provide thought leadership for the field, and serve as a model for effective collaboration.
1Based on the mission statement as articulated by the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN: aiynetwork.org)
The Background: In August 2018, a group of artist-educators and arts-based organisations that work within the Juvenile Justice space in New Mexico came together to lay the groundwork for an Arts Network for Youth and Justice (ANYJ) in the state. Inspired by the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) -- an organization that is also mentoring the creation of its New Mexico counterpart -- ANYJ seeks to act as a hub between various arts-based programming opportunities, which currently operate in silos, for system-impacted youth in the state. In so doing, ANYJ seeks to create models for data collection and analysis, to organise annual collaborative events for its stakeholders, to gather/hold best practices, to match youth with potential employers/mentors post-release, to interface with public stakeholders, to articulate a shared vision, and to access/manage resources for its members.
The Focus Areas: I. Arts-as-advocacy || Arts-resulting-advocacy
● Short term (within 1 year): To organize regular showcasings of work created by/ with youth in detention, both for a general public and for policy makers. These showcasings will function as “covert advocacy” that seeks to battle stigma surrounding incarceration, and to humanize the young people to those who might never interact with them
● Medium term (between 1 to 3 years): To develop a mechanism to generate, collate, and analyse data, understanding that the more quantitative information that we can use to showcase the impact of the arts vis-a-vis Juvenile Justice, the more likely policy makers are to respond
● Long term (between 3 to 5 years): To work with policy makers so as to implement, in three to five years, one entirely arts-based unit at a youth detention facility in the state. In this “pilot” unit, the arts would be woven into every aspect of the young people’s rehabilitation/ healing, and comparative evaluation frameworks would be designed to look at differences in youth and staff experiences of this approach (compared to the current, non-arts-based model).
II. Programming across the “Continuum” pre-detention; during detention; pre-release; post-release
● Short term: To encourage integration across different arts-based programs that are currently offered within the facilities
● Medium term: To develop a multidisciplinary arts-as-activism program for formerly incarcerated or system-impacted youth to create artworks that can operate as tools for policy advocacy, lobbying, and public engagement on national/international levels
● Long term: To work toward an Arts-based “Case Management” approach, and to create a team of artist-educators (AEs) who function as “case-managers”, of sorts. These AEs will liaise with organizations who already work with system impacted youth; youth who present as being ‘in risk’ of incarceration. If the young person is subsequently incarcerated, this AE will be present throughout the young person’s time in detention (on their care team) and will guide them through the transition process (pre-release) into a funded arts apprenticeship that they could take on post-release. This paid apprenticeship, it is hoped, will allow the young person to build enough of a skill-base -- through the creation of artistic work; through participation in advocacy and capacity building -- to become “case managers” themselves
● Long term: To enhance connectivity with youth after they leave the facilities, there is a possibility of installing technology like Portals in different counties in NM: beginning with the four New Mexican counties in which the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative already has programming in place. The use of this technology is seen as potentially allowing members of ANYJ to remain connected with youth post-release, even if they reside at a geographical distance from the “hub” at which post-release programming is offered.
III. Training/Capacity building
● Short term: To hold trauma/healing informed trainings for the artist-educators (including an emphasis on student centered social competency) and to invite youth alumni from our programs to engage with such training, to speak to best practices from their perspective
● Medium term: To design training sessions in which the artists and the facilities’ staff are trained together, and learn how to constructively engage with/ learn from each other
● Long term: To design arts-based curricula that might be woven into Criminology and Law programs in the state (in formal programs at Universities and Colleges; but also in other kinds of training avenues that currently exist for police and correctional officers).