The intersection of restorative justice and the arts

How can artistic practices and approaches be applied in restorative justice? In what ways might restorative approaches and principles inform artistic practices? In this webinar, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Restorative Justice Program will provide a case study in the intersection of socially-engaged art and restorative justice.

The Mural Arts Program incorporates the theory of restorative justice in providing art instruction, mural making, community service work and a paid work program, (the Guild) within the criminal justice system. Inmates, returning citizens and juveniles are afforded the opportunity to learn new skills and make a positive contribution to their communities to repair prior harm caused, reclaim public spaces, develop competency skills and engage victims of crime in dialog. The Mural Arts Program has focused its Restorative Justice work in three areas: inside Graterford State Correctional Institution; with its Guild Program; and with the juvenile justice system.

Join Jane Golden, Executive Director, Robyn Buseman, Restorative Justice Program Director, and Eric Okdeh, teaching artist at Graterford, to learn more about the program and view the work.

Howard Zehr will facilitate the webinar.

When: April 23, 2014, 4:30-6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (United States)

Cost: FREE

View the webinar recording:

Jane Golden is Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, overseeing its growth from a small city agency to the nation’s largest mural program and a model for community development around the globe. Under Golden’s direction, the Mural Arts Program has created more than 3,800 landmark works of public art through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofits, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies. Sought after as an expert on urban transformation through art, Golden has received numerous awards for her work, including the Philadelphia Award, The Hepburn Medal from the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College, the Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art & Design, the 2012 Governor’s Award for Innovation in the Arts, a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award from former Governor Edward G. Rendell, the Adela Dwyer / St. Thomas Peace Award from Villanova University, LaSalle University’s Alumni Association’s Signum Fidei Medal, and an Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Award. Golden has co-authored three books about the murals in Philadelphia. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA from Rutgers University, degrees in fine arts and political science from Stanford University, and honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Widener University, Haverford College, and Villanova University.

Robyn Buseman has a lengthy background in the criminal justice field, starting her career as a caseworker and juvenile probation officer for Chester County, Pennsylvania. In addition, she was the director of a large community based detention shelter for delinquent males, located in Chester County. Ms. Buseman developed and was the long term Director of the Mitchell Program at St. Gabriel’s Hall, an innovative, short term residential program that incorporates gardening and animal care to teach empathy and positive competencies, along with an innovative program, the Crime Repair Crew. Youth learned carpentry skills and repaired crime victim homes, incorporating the principals of balanced and restorative justice. Currently, Ms. Buseman is the Director of the Restorative Justice Program for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, a unique combination of the arts, community and the criminal justice system. She holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice.

Eric Okdeh is a Philadelphia based muralist, who has been creating public art since 1998. After receiving his BFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, Eric chose to focus on public art exclusively. Since 2002, in addition to his commissioned work, Eric has taught mural making classes to children and teens throughout the city as well as inmates at SCI Graterford Prison. The classes exist as leadership, teamwork, and skill building exercises which culminate in major mural projects. Eric finds that the most successful murals provide a sense of inclusion and accomplishment among its participants, empowering them to take ownership in the work.

A recent project, focuses on the impact of incarceration on families. Family Interrupted is a growing multidisciplinary project that contains the input, stories, and hard work of over 100 contributors as of this date. Families with loved ones behind bars were given a voice, by attending workshops, submitting their writings in specially designed mailboxes throughout Philadelphia, prison waiting rooms, and State Correctional Institutions, and posting to the project site The mural takes its inspiration from these stories. Passers by can interact with the piece by scanning areas of the mural with a smartphone. These codes within the mural lead to a number of audio clips from the workshops, selected writings and pages of the website leading to links of resources and places where one can contribute their thoughts on the spot.

In addition to this project website, Eric has designed and developed his own website and blog,, in an attempt to detail these significant community collaborations and interactions. The projects are journaled and documented in photographs and video clips to lend outside observers insight into the processes by which his murals come about. Eric has over 80 public art commissions throughout the Philadelphia as well as murals in Wailuku, Hawaii, Seville, Spain, and Amman, Jordan. He has participated in mural projects in Tucson, Arizona and Los Angeles. His work is featured in seven books about public and Mural Art.

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