Pioneer Playhouse Voices Inside Prison Outreach Program awarded $15,000

Published 8:18 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide


News release 

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National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $15,000 to Pioneer Playhouse for its Voices Inside Prison Outreach Program. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Pioneer Playhouse, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

“We are absolutely thrilled, and frankly, very relieved, to receive this grant for the 8th year in a row,” says Voices Inside Project founder and director, Robby Henson.  “Supporting the arts is so important, on every level.  We simply could not continue to provide this kind of outreach to the underserved without help from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

The goal of the Voices Inside Prison Outreach Program is to use theatre arts and creative thinking to increase communication skills, build self-esteem, and humanize the lives of those behind bars in an overall effort to help fight recidivism.”

“For eight years, we’ve been working with inmates at Northpoint Training Center, a medium security prison located near us in Danville,” says Henson, who is also Artistic Director of Pioneer Playhouse.  “This program has definitely changed lives.  Two of our inmates have had their plays read and produced on New York City stages, and our inmates have also been recipients of the prestigious PEN Award for Best Inmate Drama in America.”

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to  For information about Pioneer Playhouse and Voices Inside, contact Heather Henson at Pioneer Playhouse at 859-236-2747 or