Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project (APEAP)

Program Website: www.auburn.edu/apaep

Contacts: Kyes Stevens, Founder/Director, (334) 844-8946; stevemk@auburn.edu; apaepau@auburn.edu

Program Description: The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project is a program dedicated to providing access to sustained and quality educational experiences in the arts and humanities to incarcerated students in Alabama.

The program believes that it is important for incarcerated people to gain a quality education, and also to build a relationship with learning that will continue to grow for the rest of their lives. The goals of APAEP have always been to place rich creative and intellectual opportunities into Alabama’s prisons.

APAEP grew from one poet teaching in one prison (founder and director Kyes Stevens) in 2002, to a pool of more than 80 writers, artists, scholars and visiting writers teaching in 12 correctional facilities in Alabama. Course offerings have expanded from poetry and creative writing to southern literature, photography, African-American literature and many other classes. Classes in arts and humanities are based on introductory college courses and run for 14 weeks.

In 2008, APAEP moved to the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts. This move has served to strengthen APAEP in multiple capacities. Graduate students and faculty at Auburn are now directly involved in research on the effects of APAEP programming.

Degrees Offered: No degree offered, but students can request transcripts (classes are offered as Continuing Education through Auburn)

Programs Offered: Classes in the arts and humanities are based on introductory college level courses and generally run for 14 weeks. Classes include: Literature and Writing, Engineering, Art and Performance, Hunger Studies, Poetry, Creative Writing, Southern Literature, African American Literature, African American Theatre, Social History of Alabama, American Literature, Short Story Writing, World Literature, Drawing I/II, Multi-Media Art. Classes are capped at 25 students. There are no educational requirements set by APAEP

Unique Features: APAEP focuses on education as process and journey. The structure of classes are based on college level courses because APAEP wants its students to know that if they choose to pursue a college degree, that they are capable of doing the course-work. But on a much more fundamental level, APAEP is about building a relationship with learning, and in that process, also a relationship with the world around each student. Classrooms become communities of learners—and in a community, members are invested in each other.

Headquarters: Auburn, AL

Correctional Facilities Served: Regular classes offered in 9 facilities. APEAP also works to develop reading libraries in approximately 15 facilities

Population Served: Incarcerated students in Alabama state prisons

Number of Students: Average 18 per class

Graduates to Date: N/A

Year Founded: 2002

Founders: Kyes Stevens

College/University/Organization Partnerships: Auburn University

Funding: National Endowment for the Arts, Alabama State Council for the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation are APAEP’s most consistent funding agencies. Additional grant funds have come from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Puffin Foundation, the Alabama Support the Arts Car Tag Fund.

Program Evaluation:

  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs