The Freehand Arts Project is a non-profit organization that offers creative writing and arts classes in Texas jails and prisons. Volunteers offer a variety of classes to men and women in both minimum and maximum security. The organization also provides opportunities to share the work of our incarcerated students in print anthologies, online publications, art galleries and public readings. 

Kelsey Erin Shipman founded The Freehand Arts Project in 2014, after teaching poetry at the Travis County Correctional Facility outside of Austin, Texas. After five years of teaching, and winning the 2017 Travis County Volunteer of the Year Award, The Freehand Arts Project is now run by Murphy Anne Carter, one of the groups' first teachers. Kelsey continues to serve on the board in an advisory role.

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"Freehand has reached hundreds of inmates as well as officers, and has been instrumental in publishing two anthologies of inmates' writings, poetry, and drawings"

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"The effect that these teachers have had has been irrefutable. You can read it and sense it in their writing and art pieces."

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"Shipman said 95 percent of students in the program are generationally poor. They were often raised in households with unhealthy, abusive relationships and in communities with poor education systems."

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