Open Sky is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in August of 2021 organized to promote the mental health and physical wellbeing of New Hampshire’s incarcerated population and to cultivate the possibilities of incarceration toward desistance, re-integration and the sharpest possible reduction of recidivism through the introduction of the skill-based discipline of Acting.
Our goal is to foster a culture of empathic understanding that promotes collaborative efforts toward communal outcomes. We are dedicated to training artists within the boundaries of a community with an eye toward life after incarceration in both local and global society.
Our work fosters fundamental interpersonal skills, empathic-mindfulness and a bold readiness to collaborate.
Our projects and research aim to develop and implement practices focused on human understanding, individual self-honesty, reciprocal care and trust alliances built through shared responsibility in the physical act of live, first-person storytelling.
We are a skills based acting program for the incarcerated offering the opportunity to exercise and cultivate individual faculties and facilities of communication, sensitivity, responsibility and effective, disciplined collaboration that will enable participants to actively choose a more pro-social narrative for themselves and develop the skills they need to re-enter society including:
Conceived and created by actor Derek Lucci, Open Sky was launched in 2019 at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord, NH working with a core group of actors and a design, tech and build team. While the COVID pandemic necessitated a hiatus of the program, Open Sky returned to class late in 2021 with plans for public performances of their work scheduled for Summer 2022. Open Sky broke new ground at the end of Winter 2022 starting it’s first class in The New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women (NHCFW).
Despite having launched our pilot programming just before the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, prison staff and participants in the program report experiencing clear, direct gains in important outcome areas including daily well-being and visibly improved demeanor.
These promising developments have attracted interest, guidance and support from the NH Dept of Corrections, Dartmouth Health, Geisel School of Medicine, The NH Charitable Foundation, NH Humanities and NH State Council on the Arts. Open Sky is pursuing independent evaluation of programming and outcomes through the JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. in preparation for review by the NH Center for Excellence Service to Science Expert Panel to be designated as an evidence-based program.