The Arts

Student Teacher Interaction Painting

The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project was founded with the knowledge that creativity is an essential trait of humanity. In correctional facilities throughout the state of Alabama, APAEP works to create spaces wherein humans can practice meaningful engagement with the arts and develop their own artistic voices.


Student work collections published with support from the National Endowment for the Arts with the NEA


Robust public shows of student work


Mural Locations
Located at Bibb, Tutwiler, and Staton


Community Education Program Student

“[Art] is a great exit of the mind. I can leave the world and meditate and just clear my head.”

Community Education Program Student

“I have been in a slump. This helped me to realize that my words hold value. I personally need this boost in my creativity. I don’t know what I was expecting but I got a lot more than I was even aware of. I needed this. Thank you.”

Community Education Program Student

“[Art] gives me a voice.

Our Programs

Teaching Artist in Residence Program

The Teaching Artist in Residence Program (TARP) offers the opportunity for qualified artists to engage with these talented and dedicated students through the exploration of a specific medium. TARP encourages a deep dive into an art form that goes beyond the basics, while still remaining inclusive and welcoming to students of all skill levels.


TARP distinguished itself from standard APAEP art classes by allowing for additional time and resources for students to complete their artwork. One of the student-centered goals for this residency is for the class to create a body of work to be shared with those outside of the classroom, be it other residents of the facility or the general public. To apply, please email apaepau@auburn.edu.


Printmaking Classes

APAEP offers annual longer, intensive courses in printmaking when funding is available. Students in these courses learn to carve linoleum blocks, layer ink, and press paper to create original work using time-tested traditions and experimenting with color and shape in new and exciting ways.


Mural Projects

To date, APAEP has facilitated mural projects at three locations: Bibb County Correctional Facility, Staton Correctional Facility, and Tutwiler Prison for Women. Interested student artists got the chance to work with a teaching artist to draft, design, and paint a selected wall, showcasing their amazing artistic imagination and talent. If you are interested in leading or hosting a future mural project, please email us at apaepau@auburn.edu.

Artistic expression, while often very personal, is frequently a powerful communal experience as well. Artists who collaborate with one another, who inspire and take inspiration from other artists, tend to create works of art that represent the whole of a community rather than just an individualized section. The collaborative efforts of our mural projects provide and emphasize this this experience.


Art on the Inside

Art on the Inside is a traveling exhibit of work produced by students who have taken our community education classes. Art on the Inside has shown at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, Alabama; the Alabama State Council on the Arts in Montgomery, Alabama; the Gulf ArtSpace Gallery in Fairhope, Alabama; Space One Eleven in Birmingham, Alabama; Salt Space NYC and New York State University in New York; St. Louis University in Missouri; and the Making and Unmaking of Mass Incarceration Conference at the University of Mississippi.

In addition to the exhibit, much of the artwork collected over the years from APAEP students is periodically available for sale. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of student art goes to fund more classes. For more information on hosting Art on the Inside, please contact apaepau@auburn.edu.


Student Anthology

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, APAEP students publish their creative work in our student anthology, printed biennially and distributed to every contributing author. The anthologies contain poems, stories, paintings, drawings, and photographs created by students. These anthologies display artwork and creative writing to share with the public, and give emerging and established artists and poets a chance to see their best work in print. To acquire a student anthology, please contact apaepau@auburn.edu.


Drawing Instruction Packets

As a response to the pause in programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, APAEP began working with artists Barb Bondy, Omari Booker, and Valerie Downes to develop a series of independent instructional drawing packets. This series, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, covers the following topics: Line, Value, Perspective, Seeing, The Act of Drawing, and Critique. If you would like to receive copies of these art packets to use in your program, please contact us at apaepau@auburn.edu.


Concert Series

APAEP has hosted concerts at state prisons since 2005, including Nicole Atkins at Tutwiler Prison for Women and Terrence Simien and the Zydeco Experience at Staton Correctional Facility. Contact us if you or someone you know might be interested in scheduling a performance.