“Getting Out” Benefit Reading a Success

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The Women in Prison Project’s June 9th benefit reading of Marsha Norman’s outstanding play, Getting Out, directed by Bob Balaban, was a great success. More than 450 people attended the reading at the John Jay College Theater. In addition to raising funds, the event served as an important and moving public education effort, dramatically illustrating the issues facing formerly incarcerated women returning home from prison. We extend deep thanks to all those who so generously gave time and resources to make the event possible: Marsha Norman, Bob Balaban, cast members Halle Feiffer, Danny Glover, Sarah Jones, Chad Lowe, Mercedes Ruehl, Roy Scheider, Hilary Swank and all other performers, producer Kathy Engel, coordinator Barbara Brancaccio, former Women in Prison Project Director Julie Kowitz, former Women in Prison Project Associate Dara Orenstein, ReConnect Program Coordinator Denisse Andrade, the CA staff and board, the formerly incarcerated women who attended the production and inspired us with their courage and strength, and everyone else who heped make the night possible.

We believe that art is an essential component of our work: it can effectively communicate the realities of the criminal justice system and the stories of those bound up in that system. Historically it is often art, telling the stories of people’s experiences, that moves people to action and deepens understanding of critical social issues.

With this in mind, we recently began the process of developing an Artists Advisory Council at the CA. Working on Getting Out made clear how powerful an effort of this kind can be and how much enthusiasm exists among artists to support our work. We sent a letter to all Getting Out participants inviting them to join the Artists Advisory Council. With Marsha Norman and Sarah Jones agreeing to act as Council Co-Chairs, we’re on our way to creating an effective ongoing artists program at the CA.