Morgan Prince ‘18 believes art can change lives, especially the lives of those who have been affected by the prison system.
For her junior-year fellowship internship, the Art Education major spent a few weeks last summer working with the Osborne Association, a non-profit organization based in New York that helps people who are currently or formerly incarcerated, as well as their families. She received the 2017 Frieda Fehrenbacher Women’s Leadership Fellowship to help with her expenses.
“Art education is impactful on both recidivism rates and on the self-esteem of adjudicated and at-risk youth, and is a vital way to connect them to a positive culture and positive creative outlet while they are still young,” Prince said.
Prince worked with eight young people ages 12 to 17 in Osborne’s Youth Experience Success Academy as a camp counselor, friend and mentor.
The young students began their day by drawing in sketch books that Prince bought for them to get their creative juices flowing. Prince and her co-counselors then guided the students through fun activities, like going to the pool, making mosaics at a pottery shop and looking at colleges.
“I got to participate in things like boxing,” Prince said. “We go to swim in a pop-up pool that looked directly over the Manhattan skyline. I liked that one the best.”
The students also had the chance to meet Jeremy Robins, a filmmaker who made the documentary Echoes of Incarceration, about the experience of being the child of incarcerated parents. Robins showed the kids how to use cameras and other equipment, and the students participated in mock interviews.
“That got a little bit personal,” Prince said, “with the children answering questions about their experiences, what they wanted for the future, what they wanted for their parents and their siblings. That was a very emotional day, but, I felt, very worth it.”
She also spent time helping children of women in the Albion Correctional Facility create a mural.
“I talked with this one little boy, I’ll never forget him,” Prince said. “His name was Payton and he was so sweet and he was so happy to be reunited with his mother and his part in the mural was really decorative and creative. It was little moments like that that made my fellowship incredibly worth it.”
Prince said some of her classes at Moore led her to wanting to work in prison art advocacy programs and art education for underserved populations.
“This fellowship was a wonderful and humbling experience,” she said. “Overall, I felt I grew close and connected to the students that I was working with and it was a great stepping stone for me to enter into the field of prison art programs and that kind of advocacy and organizations that I really do want to do in the future.”