Inspiration Matterz

Bring art lessons to Alexandria's inmates

A fundraising campaign for Del Ray Artisans

Inspiration Matterz brings volunteer art instruction to the incarcerated in the Northern Virginia region. Her program also includes art instruction to those transitioning out of incarceration and to women and youth of need. Since the inception of this program, founder and teacher, Kelli Sincock has taught art to well over 400+ students within the Northern Virginia region. Each week Kelli volunteer teaches three classes to the male and female population at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center averaging around 20 students per class. For the last year and a half, she taught art to the inmates at the Alexandria Detention Center and will soon be working with the juvenile population. She has worked with the Friends of Guest House teaching women transitioning out of Prison and has also worked with women in shelter houses. Del Ray Artisans is committed to helping Ms. Kelli, a Del Ray Artisans member, fund the Inspiration Matterz program.

Her three weekly classes in the Detention Center – two for men and one for women – attract 20-25 individuals each, averaging about 55 students per week. Kelli is responsible for the majority of the art materials, supplies and instructional tools for her program. Through the generosity of community outreach and support, her program has continued to sustain itself and grow. This year Kelli will extend her Art instructional program to include continuing education to her more serious students who have transitioned out of jail and exhibit continued interest in art education.

The program has been well received by both the inmates and the Sheriff’s staff. Kelli reports that the correctional officers who work weekly with the inmates have stated that there has been a marked improvement in morale of the inmates both within the interpersonal relationships of the inmates and with the staff. They comment that they are amazed by the exceptional artwork they see produced by the inmates. They report that the men and women talk about her classes during the week and express their enthusiasm for each upcoming class.

Kelli's personal experience has proven her belief that many who find themselves incarcerated are often people who have been neglected in basic creative instruction and are often from underserved communities who have not developed personal tools that help deal with life’s daily frustrations. She has witnessed the growth of self-worth and self-esteem through the act of learning a process and seeing the result of the labor of one’s own hands.

Here's Kelli talking about a recent experience:

"One of my male students loves to draw but sometimes has difficulty expressing his thoughts verbally. His verbal clarity sort of comes and goes. One evening during class one of the male students sitting by him said to me, "Why aren't you a tattoo artist? Tattoo artists make a lot of money." And the guy sitting next to him said, "Yeah, probably more than you get paid to be here!" I shook my head and said, "No, I'm not paid to be here. I am a volunteer." They both looked completely shocked! Then one said, "Not get paid? Why would you do that?!" I replied, "Because I care about you guys and I like you. And, of course, because I love art." They sat quietly for a moment. Then the young man I mentioned who had been quietly listening to this interaction said without looking up from his drawing, "You say you come here because you like us...... (Pause)..... Well, because you do this you make us like ourselves."

In that moment I remembered why I am doing this and what art has done for me during the rough points of my life. His words summed it up perfectly."

Your contribution will help fund ‘Inspiration Matterz’ and introduce more inmates, recently released women, and women in shelters to art in a way that is self-affirming, supportive, and a tool to help them transition back into the Alexandria and Fairfax region.

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About the Organization