InsideOut Literary Arts

InsideOut Literary Arts logo
Courtesy of InsideOut Literary Arts

InsideOut Literary Arts helps Detroit students build their literacy and academic skills through creative writing. Serving more than 100 classrooms and 60,000 individual students, the organization’s professional writers help students think broadly, create bravely, and share their voices with the wider world. The nonprofit was first founded in 1995 by Terry Blackhawk, a Detroit public schools teacher, who was inspired by a writer-in-residence in one of her classrooms. InsideOut’s writer-in-residence program offers weekly sessions that allow professional writers to become an integral part of students’ experiences. These writers serve as models that engage students’ imaginations and help them to experiment with words in order to learn that each unique voice matters — that there is power in “bringing the inside out.” Alongside programs in the classroom, InsideOut also offers at home, after school, and community programs for additional learning opportunities. In recognition of its ability to foster and empower youth voices, the White House awarded InsideOut the highest honor in youth arts programming, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, which was presented by Michelle Obama in 2009.


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