My Word(s) – These are the tools I trust
(Community Partnership Exhibition)

My Word(s) – These are the tools I trust* is an installation of Flash Story Poems created by participants of the Free Verse Poetry Workshops held in the waiting rooms of the New York City Department of Probation over the course of 2019. 
*My Word(s) – These are the tools I trust is the title and beginning of a poem by Free Verse participant Azalea Fairley. Free Verse runs poetry workshops in the Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) waiting rooms that turn waiting time into creative time. Free Verse invites community members, professional writers, and probation staff, to read, write, sing and perform on the open mic, and to attend dozens of events that inspire, uplift, and empower. Free Verse produces an annual magazine, provides jobs as writing apprentices, and publishes books. All workshops, events, inclusion in the magazine, and book-making are open to the public. Poets share experiences with the criminal justice system, family shelters, experiences with racial profiling, among other critical social issues.

NeON Arts is a program of the New York City Department of Probation (DOP) in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute that integrates arts into the seven NeONs (community-based probation centers located throughout New York City). The project empowers local stakeholder groups to choose art projects for their communities—projects that engage clients and neighbors in strengths-based activities supporting educational outcomes and connecting to employment opportunities.

The Community Partnership Exhibition Program at the Queens Museum provides opportunities for cultural and other nonprofit organizational partners to develop and mount short-term exhibitions based on their programs and our collaborative projects.


Image credit: Pablo Dulcan, detail, Free Verse Magazine 2016