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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)

Prison Arts Initiative

Prison Arts Initiative

University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI)

The University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative promotes access to high-quality therapeutic arts programs to incarcerated people in Colorado with the goal of empowering individuals to improve the quality of their lives and prepare to make positive changes in their communities upon release. DU PAI sees this work as part of DU's commitment to be "a great private university dedicated to the public good."

DU PAI's mission is to provide therapeutic, educational creative arts programming to incarcerated men and women in Colorado state prisons.


DU PAI values:

  • Utilizing creative arts practices and pedagogical models that are therapeutic and trauma-informed.
  • Creating opportunities for participation, collaboration, and leadership from incarcerated individuals, both in arts programming and ongoing program design.
  • Community collaborations that recognize and build upon transformative work being done by nonprofits, legislators, artists, and educators.
  • Providing training for facilitators that is culturally competent, recognizes the individual and community harm of mass incarceration, and is grounded in social justice.
  • Providing community resources and support to participants upon their release from prison.
  • Conducting impact evaluation that is therapeutic and supportive of all program participants.