Covid photo

Our Response to Covid-19

Throughout the pandemic, RTA provided distance learning to help engage the creative process and raise hope for the future. In June 2021, we began our return to in-person programming. Here is a timeline of RTA's response throughout the pandemic.

“I know of no other organization that has done this much during this time.” - RTA member at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

March 16, 2020

NYS Department of Corrections & Community Supervision (DOCCS) suspends all programming until further notice.

March 20 - May 31

RTA teaching artists respond enthusiastically to develop paper lesson plans for individual learning in all art forms.

-Lessons are delivered to all 6 facilities where we work

-New lessons supplied every other week

-Notebooks sent with a guide for keeping a journal to document this extraordinary time

June 1 - June 30

Audio cassettes made especially for prison were:

-Developed for all art forms

-Recorded and duplicated

-600 tapes were delivered to all facilities

-Cassettes will cover the summer semester

​RTA writes letters to all its members to find out how they are doing.

July 1 - September 30

DVDs and lesson plans:

-Written, filmed and duplicated

-Delivered to all facilities for the fall semester, when participants may be able to meet in small groups.

October 1 - May 30

RTA sends lessons in poetry, memoir, playwriting, monologues and pen & pencil visual arts that address the specific needs of each individual through JPAY tablets distributed in NYS prisons.

June 1 - September 1: Return to in-person programs!

RTA was one of the first programs the Department of Corrections allowed to return to prison and our program staff has been meeting members at each facility to plan for a full return to in-person programming in September. 

Participants also continue to meet in small groups for visual arts and keyboard workshops, using lessons recorded on DVD by RTA teaching artists.

September 1: We're back!

In-person workshops have begun at each of the 6 facilities we serve. We are offering 3 workshops at each prison and the programming is tailored to the membership at each location. Workshops include music, theatre, visual arts, public speaking and new to the list - knitting & puppetry!

The reunion with our members has been joyful, and we are thrilled to be back inside. We are continuing to monitor Covid-19 developments and following the existing guidance to keep our members and teaching artists safe. We are very grateful to our supporters for standing by us and helping make this return possible!


Related News

The New Yorker

The Artists of Sing Sing - The New Yorker

At an exhibition hosted by Rehabilitation Through the Arts, subjects included Ta-Nehisi Coates, Nikole Hannah-Jones, global warming, and home.

westchester mag

A Look at Westchester County’s Prison System – and the People Inside It

RTA teaching artist Kate Stone Lombardi wrote an article for Westchester Magazine on the carceral system in Westchester County featuring RTA's alums, Charles Moore, Jermaine Archer & Dunasha Payne

Gala photo

Highlights from RTA's 25th Anniversary Gala

A night not soon forgotten!