2019 Social Justice Champion
Social Justice Champion: Reforming Arts their organizational mission is to offer a liberal arts higher education to people incarcerated in women’s prisons in Georgia to serve as a foundation for building purposeful, meaningful lives. Evidence based studies show that education reduces recidivism and helps returning citizens become productive. Reforming Arts works with volunteer instructors at local colleges and universities to provide diverse, multi-dimensional curriculum at Lee Arrendale State Prison. A sense of community and expanded possibilities develop through intense dialogue and self-exploration. Through reflection, critical analysis, and a deeper understanding of the systems at work in their lives, the students gain a greater insight on how to think critically about their past and imagine their future.
Executive Director- Reforming Arts
Wende has a BA in Theatre, an MBA, an MA in American Studies, a graduate certificate in Women's Studies, and is a PhD candidate in Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methodologies at UGA. They has extensive experience as a freelance theatre professional, arts manager, and educator. As a theatre professional she has worked for Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Aurora Theatre, the Neighborhood Playhouse, and the Atlanta Arts Festival. As an arts manager, Wende worked for the University of West Georgia and Cobb County. Wende has taught at Kennesaw State University and continues to teach and direct Reforming Arts classes inside women's prison facilities in Georgia and facilitate their Theatre Reentry Project.