Home | Contact Us

Dale Davis founded the New York State Literary Center (NYSLC) in 1979, where she teaches and serves as Executive Director, to facilitate collaborative projects between the artistic and educational communities. It was one of the first upstate New York organizations to send writers into public schools to teach.

NYSLC's artists were Artist Educators, artists who believed their work in education could advance education as well as art. NYSLC resisted the pressure of the one-to-three day residency with a head count standard of performance in favor of in-depth, long term interdisciplinary projects. NYSLC programs were created as dynamic, culturally responsive environments for learning and creativity.

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, Thomas Colchie, 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

Click Here

and The New York Times.

Click Here

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.

Click Here

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.

In 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, and juvenile justice facilities through The Communication Project. In response to the challenges, NYSLC's The Communication Project developed interest-based, student-centered arts learning strategies, integrating arts learning into the research that recommended what most clearly met the unique and individual needs of high risk students to motivate them to succeed and to complete their education.

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 has concentrated on the arts in incarcerated education. NYSLC's Incarcerated Education Program began with adolescents incarcerated as adults. In 2013 the focus shifted to adults incarcerated for a county year or under. Working with incarcerated adults grew directly from NYSLC's history, experience, ongoing research in low literacy levels, recidivism, the disconnect from any sense of community, and the consequences of incarceration for children when a parent is incarcerated.

In 2014, NYSLC introduced Rebuilding Families into its Incarcerated Education Program to respond to the impact of incarceration on children and families. Participants in NYSLC's Community Engagement Seminar read articles, studied research, and wrote from personal experience on the effects of incarceration on families. NYSLC began a four partnership with the Rochester Broadway Theater League that enabled Seminar participants to attend a Broadway musical with their families upon their release.

NYSLC actively works to raise awareness that having a parent who is incarcerated is an additional risk factor for a child who is an unrecognized, innocent victim who has done nothing. NYSLC's commitment to literacy, education, and community engagement included the development of communication and expressive skills between parents and children by working with those in The Community Engagement Seminar to collaborate and help steer and develop Incarceration: Its Impact on Children and Families, the annotated guide of resources now on the https://www.nyslc.org/ that presents information to help bring families together, benefits children's education, and serves as an educational resource.

The New York State Literary Center continues to serve those incarcerated, educators, and children whose parents are incarcerated through resources, information, and research that promote education, rehabilitation, community engagement, and rebuilding families impacted by incarceration.

Kamilah Forbes
Hakim Bellamy  
Ted Canning