Thank you for making me feel like a human.”

“Sandy” first discovered Heard when she won a nonfiction award as part of our writing contest with the local detention center. Now she was thanking me at Friends of Guest House, where she was taking our poetry and improvisation classes.

Why would someone feel like a human because she had a chance to write and act?

Because Heard believes that Sandy’s story, her imagination, her history, and who she was, deserves to be heard.

This is what we do. Heard’s mission statement says that we foster creativity, confidence, self-worth and life skills to adults who are underserved, unknown, and unheard by offering them artistic expression through experiential instruction and participation.

Hello and welcome to our first Heard newsletter! I thought you would enjoy learning about the important work that we do, and why. We hear “you changed my life” from our clients because we believe they – and all of us – deserve to be heard.

Each newsletter will include original work from our clients, and a little more about us.

There is so much more I want to tell you! You can expect to hear from me again in a few weeks, and between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Yes, there will be some fundraising requests. One of our core beliefs is that artists need to be compensated for their time and talent, and your gift will allow us to support them. Artists need to be heard too!

Before I close, please email me at [email protected] and tell me if there’s anything more that you want to learn about us.

And please, each of you, be safe during the holidays. Your health is important to me.

Happy holidays,

Creative Corner - experience our clients' creations
"I don’t know what’s safer
home or the church’s chapel."

Hashim won first place for this untitled poem as part of our writing contest with the Alexandria Detention Center. Since then his poem has been shared online, during the City of Alexandria's Recovery Celebration, and featured as part of a Kennedy Center's REACH festival workshop.

What I remember the most about Hashim, pictured above, is how shy and nervous he appeared when he read his poem aloud to his fellow inmates during the writing contest awards ceremony. As he faltered and started over, the other inmates shouted words of encouragement to him.

"C'mon, buddy," they exclaimed. "You can do it!"

And Hashim did, with the support of his friends. Read his prize-winning poem here.

Visit our Heard Gallery to see, read, savor, and enjoy our clients' original work.
Our Artist Showcase
We have the best art team on the planet! Meet author extraordinaire Solveig Eggerz. Solveig is one of our founding team members and the author of Sigga of Reykjavik and Seal Woman among her other works. Solveig teaches creative writing with our detention center partners, and challenges them to be creative and bold!

And don't miss our artist C. Thomas' free performance of "This is How Prey is Trained" event, where he shares a poem on the difficult subject of child abuse. Register here.
This program is funded by the City of Alexandria Arts Grant Program.

Your donation supports our artists and allows us to continue our work. We are grateful for your support. Donate online through our secure website.

Select Heard as your Amazon Smile charity, and 0.5% of your eligible purchases on Amazon are donated to us! Just click on the logo.