Past Talks & More | Public Programs

Pens to Pictures: Empowering Incarcerated Women from Script to Screen

Director's Dialogue on Art and Social Change
Featuring Chinonye Chukwu, Towsand Price-Spratlen, and others

Woman in a car with kids

Director's Dialogue featuring Chinonye Chukwu, Towsand Price-Spratlen, and others

Advancing the arts as a catalyst for meaningful discussion of contemporary issues, this year’s Director’s Dialogue centers on Pens to Pictures, a pioneering project that teaches incarcerated women to make their own short films.

Join us at 7 PM to watch five short works created by women in the Dayton Correctional Institution in partnership with Wright State University students, professional artists and filmmakers, and the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio Program.

After the films (at 7:30 PM), see the Pens to Pictures documentary, created during a Wexner Center residency.

A panel discussion follows (at 8 PM) featuring artist and Wright State Assistant Professor of Motion Pictures Chinonye Chukwu, the program’s creator; Ohio State professors Townsand Price-Spratlen (moderator, Department of Sociology) and Audrey Begun (College of Social Work); and author, advocate, and organizer Tammy Fournier-Alsaada of Ohio’s Juvenile Justice Coalition. Together they will discuss a range of issues—from addiction and abuse to reentry and prison reform—facing incarcerated women today.

The Wexner Center’s Director’s Dialogues are made possible in part by a lead endowment gift from an anonymous donor.

This year’s Director’s Dialogue is presented with additional support from United Way of Central Ohio, Puffin Foundation West, Ltd., Gale V. King, and Cathe Chapin Kobacker.


Townsand Price-Spratlen

Townsand Price-Spratlen is an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State with research interests that include the sociology of religion, social justice, and the history African American organizational development, with a focus on how community organization practices shaped the Great Migration during and after the Jim Crow era. His current research analyzes how faith-health relationships help reduce health disparities, and how former felons collaborate with grassroots organizations to nurture community justice. Price-Spratlen’s research and social justice affiliations include the Columbus Congregations for Healthy Youth project, the Advisory Board of Reconstruction, and the American Friends Service Committee. Price-Spratlen completed his PhD at the University of Washington in 1993.


Audrey Begun

Audrey Begun is a professor in Ohio State’s College of Social Work. Topics addressed in her scholarship include family relationships involving members with developmental disabilities, strategies for reducing intimate partner violence, and interventions into substance misuse and addiction. She has worked to bring evidence-informed screening practices and medication-assisted treatment to women reentering the community following a period of incarceration. Before joining the College of Social Work in 2009, she served on the faculty of the School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Begun received her MSW (1978) and PhD (1987) from the University of Michigan.

Chinonye Chukwu

Chinonye Chukwu is assistant professor at Wright State University, where she teaches courses in screenwriting and directing in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures. A recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award and Princeton Hodder Fellowship, her feature films and short films have been screened internationally at renowned film festivals such as the Chicago International Film Festival, the New York African Festival at Lincoln Center, and Dayton LGBT Film Festival, winning numerous awards. Her short The Dance Lesson premiered at the Ritz Theater of Philadelphia and was a Regional Finalist for the 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Academy Awards. Chukwu is currently working on her next feature film.

Tammy Fournier-Alsaada

Tammy Fournier-Alsaada is an author and community organizer from Columbus, Ohio, who advocates for criminal justice reform issues important to grassroots community members and their families. Fournier-Alsaada has served on the Franklin Prerelease Citizens Advisory Board, was a founding member of the Franklin County Reentry Task Force, and has been instrumental in the Juvenile Justice Community Planning Initiative. She was recently chosen as an outreach specialist and chairperson for Ohio State’s Youth Violence Prevention Advisory Board, and she currently serves as the community organizer for the Ohio Juvenile Justice Coalition, advocating for Ohio’s youth.

Short films written and produced through Pens to Pictures (2017)

  • BANG! (Kamisha) portrays a woman with two starving children who has been rejected by nearly everyone and pushed to her limit.
  • Love or Loyalty (Tyra) examines the bonds formed between women in prison.
  • TransParent (Jamie) explores the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter.
  • The Devastating Game (Beverly) examines the psychological and emotional complexities of sexual abuse.
  • For They Know Not (Aimee) chronicles a woman’s battle with heroin addiction. 

close up of a woman in distress

BANG! (Kamisha, 2017), image courtesy of Pens to Pictures

group photo of directors, co-directors, and other participants in the Pens to Pictures program

Group photo of directors, co-directors, and Chinonye Chukwu, founder of Pens to Pictures program. Photo: Will Jones. Photo courtesy of Wright State University.

close-up of a young woman

For They Know Not (Aimee, 2017), image courtesy of Pens to Pictures

an incarcerated woman running through a prison

Love or Loyalty (Tyra and Shawndra, 2017), image courtesy of Pens to Pictures

a woman lying in bed with the curtains drawn closed

The Devastating Game, image courtesy of Pens to Pictures.

police officers dealing with an altercation in a school parking lot

TransParent, image courtesy of Pens to Pictures.


Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change Endowment Fund



United Way of Central Ohio
Puffin Foundation West, Ltd.
Gale V. King
Cathe Chapin Kobacker



Rohauer Collection Foundation



Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
National Endowment for the Arts



National Endowment for the Arts
Corna Kokosing



Huntington Bank
Cardinal Health Foundation



Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation


Past Talks & More

Pens to Pictures: Empowering Incarcerated Women from Script to Screen