Mission & History
"Indeed, people in prison can, while engaged in beauty and the arts and intellectual discourse, be their noblest selves..."
BAZ DREISINGER, INCARCERATION NATIONS
RTA uses the transformative power of the arts to help people in prison develop skills to unlock their potential and succeed in the larger community. RTA also seeks to raise public awareness of the humanity behind prison walls.
That mission has evolved since 1996, when Katherine Vockins attended a graduation of the New York Theological Seminary at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and casually asked if there was any theatre in the prison. The answer was no, but there was plenty of interest and plenty of talent.
One year later, the Theatre Group Katherine formed presented an original piece to the prison population. The play was about their own lives - drugs, gangs, crime and bad decisions - but also about the possibility of change and redemption.
In time, participants, observing changes in their own attitudes and behavior, changed the organization's name to Rehabilitation Through The Arts.
The mission continues to evolve, as RTA alumni seek to continue the creative journey they found so meaningful inside.