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Dale Davis founded the New York State Literary Center in 1979 where she teaches and serves as Executive Director. Writers, editors, and artists who have worked with Dale Davis as integral contributors to NYSLC's programs included Homero Aridjis, Hakim Bellemy, William Bronk, Kenneth Burke, Ted Canning, Robert Creeley, Malcolm Cowley, Robert Fitzgerald, Kamilah Forbes, Jonathan Galassi, Hugh Kenner, Ted Kooser, James Laughlin, Ruth Maleczech, Emir Rodriguez Monegal, Octavio Paz, David Shakes, William Stafford, Carrie Mae Weems, and Eliot Weinberger.

Octavio Paz Robert Duncan  
Hugh Kenner Robert Duncan and Thomas Meyer  
Jonathan Williams Kenneth Burke  

NYSLC has published over 600 books of writing by young people, 30 children's books by those incarcerated, and has produced thirty CDs. Davis has written 15 theater pieces adapted from the writing of those in NYSLC's programs that have been performed in high schools across New York State and nationally in juvenile justice facilities and correctional facilities. A NYSLC program was featured at the William Carlos Williams Centennial at the Harvard Club in New York for the Modern Language Association. NYSLC's programs have been the subject of articles in New York Magazine

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and The New York Times.

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NYSLC has been honored and nationally recognized by The President's Committee on Arts and Humanities, The Center for Disease Control National AIDS Clearinghouse, the American Council on The Arts, The National Alternative Education Association, The National Dropout Prevention Association, the Annenberg School of Communication, Arts In Criminal Justice. NYSLC was the subject of a documentary by Columbia University's EdLab.

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Davis' work in the juvenile justice system in St. Louis was the subject of a Fox News documentary. She was invited to participate in Harvard University's Institute on The Arts and Civic Dialogue, established by playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith. In 2014, she received the Andrew P. Meloni Award from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for dedication and commitment to improve the education of those incarcerated through NYSLC's arts, education, and rehabilitation programs.

NYSLC collaborated with an on line service for journalists to inform the public about children's' issues. The service's website cited NYSLC as an example of the type of project for youth at-risk that was promoted by The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Students writing was featured on the website, both as a hook for journalists and as an example of how to write a story. Her installations, combining the writing of young people and her own photographs, have been exhibited in several prominent venues. Davis' work was featured in a cover story in Leadership, published by the Points of Light Foundation, and was the subject of Fighting The Streets with Art and Literature in Education New York.

Since the 1990's Davis' belief in all young people led NYSLC's programs to serve youth at the highest risk for educational failure in grades 7 through 12 in alternative schools, day treatment, residential placement, long-term suspension, juvenile justice facilities. and jails. In response to the challenges, NYSLC developed interest-based, student-centered arts learning strategies, integrating arts learning into the research that recommended what most clearly meet the unique and individual needs of incarcerated students to motivate them to succeed, to complete their educations, and thereby to ensure an opportunity for successful reintegration upon release.

From 2006 through 2008 NYSLC initiated and led a NYS Arts In Correctional Education Network that was instrumental in a NYS collaboration that addressed the arts in education in both the juvenile justice system and adolescents incarcerated as adults.

NYS Arts In Correctional Education Network (NYSACEN) - About
NYS Arts In Correctional Education Network (NYSACEN) - Links
NYS Arts In Correctional Education Network (NYSACEN) - Meetings

Since 2005 NYSLC's focus has been on the role of the arts in incarcerated education in Monroe County in a partnership with the Office of the Sheriff, County of Monroe. Beginning in 2013, NYSLC's Incarcerated Education Program concentrated on adults incarcerated for a county year or under at Monroe Correctional Facility. This emphasis grew directly from NYSLC's history, experience, on going research in low literacy levels, recidivism, the disconnect from any sense of community, the consequences of incarceration for children whose parents are incarcerated, and the lack of information on the effectiveness of short-term arts programs in jails and correctional facilities.

Today NYSLC continues to serve incarcerated adults through interdisciplinary, strength based arts programs.

Kamilah Forbes
Hakim Bellamy  
Ted Canning