Keshet’s Arts and Justice Initiatives to host National Youth Summit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 15-18, 2023

Keshet is hosting a National Arts and Justice Youth Summit from March 15-18, 2023 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visitors from five cities across the country will convene for a few exciting days at Keshet Center for the Arts to discuss transformative justice practices, healing centered engagement with and for youth, and centering the arts in juvenile justice reform efforts. The Summit will culminate in Keshet’s performances of Movement for Mercy on March 17-18, 2023. 

Participating organizations:

  • Arts for Healing and Justice Network (in Los Angeles, CA)
  • David’s Harp Foundation (in San Diego, CA)
  • Writers in Residence (in Cleveland, Ohio)
  • JustMedia (in NY, NY)
  • Project Knucklehead (in Los Angeles, CA)
  • Arts NOLA (New Orleans, LA)
  • Young Artist Movement (New Orleans, LA)

This event is co-facilitated by Keshet’s Arts & Justice Initiatives (AJI) and partner organization the Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN), an LA-based organization. Keshet and AHJN, along with visiting organizations, will collaborate on a newly developed section of Movement for Mercy, using Keshet’s curriculum and techniques. The Summit will culminate in two public performances of Movement for Mercy held at the Keshet Center for the Arts. Along with those performances, the Youth Summit has one other public-facing event: a Youth Open Mic on Thursday, March 16, from 3:00 to 4:00pm. Keshet and AHJN invite local youth to join Youth Voices from New Mexico, New York, Los Angeles, Ohio, and New Orleans on the stage or in the audience at Keshet for this unique open mic experience! 


Elida Ledesma, Executive Director of the Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN) states, “We are grateful to our partners at Keshet for hosting our national partners from San Diego, Ohio, New York, and New Orleans. AHJN cannot do this work alone. Having intentional spaces like this Youth Summit to center youth voice, creativity, and the visioning of a new system that truly honors the dignity and humanity of young people is always inspiring and reenergizing and reminds us of our north star- fighting for justice.” 


Says Emani Brooks, Keshet Arts & Justice Youth Leader and co-chair of Keshet’s Youth Leadership Council, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to meet youth and staff from the visiting organizations who are doing work similar to what we do in Keshet’s Arts and Justice Youth Leadership Council. I look forward to creating art and sharing space together this week.” 


Keshet has been providing daily dance programming for New Mexico’s incarcerated and paroling youth via its M3 Program (Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis). Keshet’s work in this field began in 1997, and while originally focused specifically on dance education programming with incarcerated youth/young adults, Keshet’s work quickly evolved to use dance as a vehicle to propel juvenile justice legislative policy platforms and broader systems-change.  Over the past 26 years of deep investment in this work, Keshet has built partnerships and collaborations with multiple community and government organizations, working towards meaningful and sustainable systems-change, including the closing of juvenile carceral settings in New Mexico, and increasing community-based and arts-based resources and resource-connectivity.


Youth Open Mic

When: Thursday, March 16, 2023, 3:00-4:00pm

Where: Keshet Center for the Arts, 4121 Cutler Ave NE, ABQ, NM 87110 

             (masks required)

Questions: elysia@KeshetArts.org

Movement for Mercy 2023

When: Friday, March 17th, 2023 6:30pm

            Saturday March 18th, 2023 6:30pm

Where: Keshet Center for the Arts, 4121 Cutler Ave NE, ABQ, NM 87110 

             (masks required)

Tickets: $0-$40 sliding scale– purchase tickets HERE

For Ticket Questions: BoxOffice@KeshetArts.org; or 505.224.9808


NOTE: Masks are required at all Keshet events for audience members and participants.


Keshet and AHJN are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their support of the Arts and Justice Youth Summit.


About Keshet’s Arts & Justice Initiatives: Keshet’s Arts & Justice Initiatives focus on nurturing and advancing aligned partnerships and goals via multiple collaborative efforts for systemic change in local, state, and national juvenile (in)justice ecosystems. A constant through line for Keshet is centering the arts in these initiatives, and centering system-impacted youth voices in the pursuit of a community-based, healing-based, and strengths-based approach to a re-imagined justice system.


About Keshet: Rooted in dance, mentorship, and a welcoming space for the arts, Keshet activates community and fosters unlimited possibilities through education, engagement, innovation, and the pursuit of justice.  Established in 1996, and housed at the Keshet Center for the Arts in Albuquerque’s Midtown Arts and Entertainment District, the heart of the organization is Keshet Dance Company which feeds and is fed by three intersecting program areas: Education and Engagement (classes and performances for all ages and abilities); Ideas and Innovation Community (business resource center and residency-based makerspace for arts entrepreneurs); and Arts and Justice Initiatives (juvenile justice direct service, research/evaluation, policy/advocacy, and community connectivity).


About the Arts and Healing for Justice Network: The Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN) is an interdisciplinary collaborative that provides exceptional arts programming in order to build resiliency and wellness, eliminate recidivism, and transform the juvenile justice system. AHJN envisions a future where youth are empowered and the systems that serve them are transformed by using arts as a foundational strategy and catalyst for change. 

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