Recap: Columbus Premiere of A24's Sing Sing

Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager

Jun 25, 2024

Four incarcerated men sit together in a classroom, smiling.

Learn more about the partner organizations supporting creativity and education in the justice system.

We were thrilled to host the Columbus premiere of Sing Sing June 7. The A24 drama, which is generating early awards buzz, stars Colman Domingo as a man unjustly imprisoned at Sing Sing Correctional Facility who finds purpose through a theater program, and helps other incarcerated men do the same. This includes newcomer Clarence Maclin, a former Sing Sing inmate who participated in the real-life program that inspired the film. The film will have a wide release in July.

Along with the screening, which got an enthusiastic response from the crowd that attended, the premiere included readings of poems inspired by Sing Sing from local poets Ajanaé Dawkins and Michael "Blakk Sun" Powell and an information fair offering insight into Ohio-based programs to support learning and arts engagement among the currently incarcerated, those who've returned to society, and impacted family members.

Among them are the Ohio Prison Exchange Education Project (OPEEP), which is administered by Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences. Tiyi Morris, the codirector of the program and an associate professor in the Department of African American and African Studies at Ohio State’s Newark Campus, explains, “OPEEP believes that access to quality education is a right. Therefore, we are working to expand access to quality higher education to system impacted individuals by building pathways from prison to college.”

OPEEP’s work is spread across five prisons in central Ohio including the Ohio Reformatory of Women, where they’ll begin an embedded BA program in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies this fall. “Grounded in Black feminist principles, OPEEP emphasizes collaborative learning and elevating the voices of traditionally marginalized peoples in route to creating more equitable communities,” Morris notes.

In her view, “The screening of Sing Sing was a wonderful opportunity to bring campus and community members together who are concerned about and are working to counteract the negative impact that mass incarceration is having on our communities.”

Below, you’ll find information about the other partners at our Sing Sing event, with links to learn more and show your support.

In the Belly Magazine

Begun four years ago as a collective project to bring incarcerated voices into discussions about prison abolition with safety and accountability, In the Belly published its first full edition in late 2023 and held a release party for it in February at Parable Cafe. In the Belly’s Patreon page offers the issue for purchase and updates on the collective's work, along with other ways to back the project.

Network Ohio for Arts and Healing

This collaborative project between seven Ohio organizations supports opportunities for healing arts experience for young people in proximity to the justice system. It launched pilot programs last year for people of all ages in community and correctional settings. The network was cofounded by Jesse Glover Boettcher, an experienced advocate for arts in the justice system who also cofounded Ohio Prison Arts Connection. You can learn more and get links to related organizations on Boettcher’s website.

Project Peer

Recently founded by students through Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences, Project Peer is a satellite program for OPEEP that empowers students to bring educational opportunities to the currently and formerly incarcerated. Their plans include the launch of a new learning community at Madison Correctional Institution. More information about their engagements with the community and a link to their Instagram are available on Project Peer’s website.

Returning Artists Guild

The Wex’s relationship with Returning Artists Guild (RAG) cofounders Kamisha Thomas and Aimee Wissman goes back to the 2017 commission Pens to Pictures. For that project, filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu worked with incarcerated women at Dayton Correctional Institution and Wex Film/Video Studio Editor Paul Hill to create a series of short films communicating the women’s experiences and perspectives.

After Thomas and Wissman were released, they created RAG in 2018 to support abolition and practicing artists both in prison and upon their reentry to society. Their work has been recognized and presented by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and Cincinnati’s Wave Pool.

You can keep up with RAG via Facebook or the guild’s website. And check our Instagram for a reel featuring Thomas and Wissman at the Wex for Sing Sing.


Top of page: Sing Sing, courtesy of A24

Blog home