“Millions of people’s lives have been devastated by mass incarceration. The U.S. has just 4.25% of the world’s population, but holds 20% of the world’s prisoners at a cost of roughly $81 billion per year. And, yet, we remain plagued by fear and violence. That’s a shameful reality. I’m grateful to Jeff Koons for donating the proceeds of the sale of Gazing Ball (Goya The Forge) to Art for Justice. Jeff and his wife Justine are committed to supporting artists and advocates working on criminal justice reform to help pave the way for a better, safer future for all of our communities. I also appreciate my dear friend Craig Starr for his pro bono support of the sale. Together, artists, advocates and allied donors are working to secure real social change.”
Agnes Gund, Founder, Art for Justice Fund ––
The Art for Justice (A4J) Fund aligns artists, advocates, and allied donors to transform the criminal legal system and create empathy, envisioning a future of what shared safety looks like for all. Through the work of grantees, the Fund seeks to end mass incarceration and shift the narrative around criminal justice reform through art.
A time-limited fund, A4J is a project of Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. With support from Ford, every cent contributed by donors reaches grantees. Over the past five years, A4J has allocated almost $115 M to 200 grantee partners.
Now in its sixth and final year, Art for Justice seeks to leave behind a lasting legacy. By leveraging our partnerships and impact, we elevate the power of art to end mass incarceration. A4J embodies a model wherein art becomes the very means by which justice is secured, inspiring future reform efforts while building a foundation for lasting change.
The Fund concentrates on three major policy areas: bail reform that reduces the number of people needlessly detained in jail; sentencing reform that eliminates the excessive and disproportionate punishment of young people and people of color; and the creation of meaningful reentry opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to support themselves and their families.
A4J believes those with lived experience with the criminal legal system are often best positioned to imagine a justice system that treats people with dignity and compassion. Therefore, formerly incarcerated and directly impacted artists and advocates must have the support and allyship they need to lead this movement.