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PPP Empowers Formerly Incarcerated Women, Non-Binary, and Trans People Through Ceramics


[The following mid-year update was written by the organization and then sent to us for further sharing.]

The People’s Pottery Project (PPP) continues to embody the spirit of “Care Not Cages,” making strides towards its mission of empowering formerly incarcerated women, non-binary, and trans people through its non-profit ceramics arts studio. Over the past six months, supported by the generosity of LA2050, we have witnessed significant growth and inspiring achievements, which we are excited to share with our community.

In early 2024, PPP entered into a rental agreement for a new 3,000 sq ft studio at the DePaul Center in Montebello. We are working diligently to renovate the space to be a large working ceramics studio, including adding 220 voltage outlets for industrial machines that will make our work not only efficient but also cost-efficient. We look forward to completing renovations in coming months and moving into a space that will allow us not only to our working area but also provide a welcoming environment where creativity and healing thrive.

PPP has made remarkable progress in providing employment and training to formerly incarcerated individuals. In the past six months, we have trained 3-5 formerly incarcerated people for flexible part-time positions. These roles offer not just a source of income, but also a sense of purpose and belonging. Our new hires have quickly adapted to their roles, contributing significantly to the production and distribution of the People’s Bowl and other homewares.

Partnering with reentry organizations, we have expanded our free ceramics classes, reaching 20 participants per week. These classes are more than just an artistic outlet; they are a therapeutic space where individuals can process their experiences, heal from trauma, and build a new sense of identity. The inspiring stories of transformation and resilience from our participants reaffirm the vital role of arts in reentry programs.

PPP has strengthened its advocacy efforts by expanding staff hours dedicated to collaborating with grassroots partners like Survived and Punished and Drop LWOP. This initiative has not only amplified our voice in the fight for justice and ending mass incarceration but also provided our staff with opportunities to grow as leaders. Our formerly incarcerated leaders have been at the forefront, sharing their stories and advocating for systemic changes.

Our work has gained attention in prominent arts publications, helping to change public narratives about incarcerated individuals. By showcasing the talents and contributions of our community, we challenge stereotypes and promote a more inclusive and just society. This visibility has been crucial in garnering support and understanding from broader audiences.

What comes next

Looking ahead, we will continue to partner with reentry organizations to provide comprehensive ceramics training to even more individuals. We will hire an additional 3-5 formerly incarcerated individuals, bringing our total to up to 20 employees. By providing flexible part-time positions, we ensure that our staff can balance their work with other reentry responsibilities, fostering economic stability and personal growth.

We are committed to deepening the relationships between formerly incarcerated individuals and members of the community not personally impacted by the criminal justice system. By increasing the hours our leaders spend working directly with community members, we aim to build bridges of understanding and solidarity.

In the fall, we will launch a campaign to spread awareness about the needs of individuals reentering society. By engaging with prominent art institutions and cultural centers, we hope to highlight the importance of supporting reentry programs and changing the public’s perception of formerly incarcerated people.
PPP’s journey over the past six months has been transformative, and we are excited about the future. With the continued support of LA2050 and our community, we are confident that we will achieve our goals, empowering more individuals and advocating for a just and inclusive society.

AuthorPeople's Pottery Project