Community Education

Staton Mural Student Teacher Interaction

The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project’s (APAEP) community education classes provide people who are incarcerated an opportunity to engage as learners. Modeled after freshman and sophomore level seminars, these introductory and exploratory courses range from humanities and arts to science and mathematics, depending on current funding.


We offer classes at Bullock, Bibb, Donaldson, Elmore, Staton, St. Clair, Tutwiler, and Ventress. Occasionally, we offer classes at the Birmingham Women’s Center and the Montgomery Women’s Facility. Class sign-up takes place in January, May, and August. Classes meet once a week for 14-weeks for approximately 2.5 hours.



in-person classes offered


Community Education Program Student

“It’s scary to imagine what condition my mind would be in without APAEP’s classes… after each effort, I’m better as a person and more able to help myself and those around me.”

Community Education Student

“APAEP classes rock and the teachers really care about contributing and building the mind!"

Community Education Student

“No other class is compared to APAEP classes: the teachers, the information, the supplies, the kindness, and the sincerity are all genuine.”

Additional Programs

Sparks Lecture Series in Science and Math

Started in 2012 in partnership with the College of Science and Mathematics at Auburn University, Sparks is a semester-long lecture series that visits an individual prison each spring, consisting of talks by a variety of STEM scholars. Past talks have covered civil engineering, nanotechnology, the physics of rainbows, aquaculture, and the fundamentals of sustainability.


Sparks usually takes place each spring semester. If you are interested in giving a talk as a part of this series, please contact us at apaepau@auburn.edu.

The Warbler

Implemented during the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Warbler began as a weekly educational newsletter for current and former APAEP students. Since 2020, its area of distribution has expanded to include every facility in Alabama, 31 states, and 4 countries. The Warbler is intended for use inside of prisons to hand out to students, incorporate into coursework, and serve as general educational reading material. If you would like to subscribe and receive new issues via email each week, or if you are interested in being a guest contributor, please contact us at apaepau@auburn.edu.

Examples of Classes

The Abominable Mystery—Adaptations of Plants: Throughout the last years of his life, from all of the various groups of organisms on the planet, plants presented Charles Darwin with the most extreme exception to his strongly held notion, “natura non facit saltum,” or in other words, “nature does not make a leap.” In this class we will examine and observe some of the most dramatic botanical adaptations known to have ever occurred, discussing in detail many of the adaptations that allowed plants to overtake the ancient and current land masses...even the most extreme environments on the planet. Specifically, we will be investigating adaptations leading to the “survival of the fittest”; exploring the diversity of plants; and focusing on how plants have been so successful.


Blue Notes—History of 1950s Music: This course focuses on transformative periods in several styles of 1950s American music. We’ll study Memphis and the welding of blues and country; Chicago, where the Blues goes electric; New York and the move from big-band jazz to be-bop. We’ll also investigate Atlanta, New Orleans, and Kingston, Jamaica. We’ll ask questions about how the broader social climate in each of these cities shaped this music and how that music shaped the society around it. Through reading, listening to songs, watching performances, group discussions, and writing assignments, we’ll travel back to one of the most formative times in American music.


Poetry and Performance: Here you will learn about the roots of spoken word and the evolution of the art form. Students will explore the craft of writing poetry and the art of bringing the written word to life through performance. Through the engagement of critique/analysis of past and present performers and poetic styles through text, video and audio samplings, one will discover and refine their own voice through writing, voice and movement exercises. Using a workshop approach, this course builds students’ communication skills holistically: reading, writing, and performance are interwoven in a challenging, collaborative and supportive environment. Students will gain facility with the kind of writing, rehearsing, and performing that will help them prepare for a wide variety of presentations in academic and professional settings. It will also empower them to communicate in a personal capacity by building an awareness of audience and how to adjust their message to get an audience to listen to them. Students will ultimately take written poems on the journey to become spoken word performances.