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Artists share their work from Colorado prisons

By MeiLi Smith

In November, artists and storytellers incarcerated in several Colorado prison facilities shared performances and true-life stories in an unprecedented live virtual event called A/LIVE INSIDE. The event was presented by the University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) and the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) and hosted by the artists themselves.

More than 2,000 people joined the virtual event (over 9,300 views on YouTube), according to Ashley Hamilton, co-founder and executive director of DU PAI. The event was streamed live on every television in all 22 prisons in Colorado, a historic first.

The arts and storytelling showcase was followed by a discussion, moderated by DU Provost Mary Clark, between the artists and leadership from DU PAI and CDOC. 

“Since the beginning of time, humans have used the arts in our darkest moments to find our way through. To find our way through heartache, through pain and grief,” Hamilton said during the event. “The arts have always allowed us to make meaning when all has felt meaningless. They have reminded us of our unending connection to each other, of our shared humanity.”

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