Post Content

Alexandria nonprofit teaching creative expression to inmates seeks new executive director

After six years leading Heard, a nonprofit that brings the arts to incarcerated adults, Jane Collins is hanging up her hat.

Collins, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, founded the nonprofit in 2017 by hosting a writing contest between participants of ALIVE!, Friends of Guest House and Together We Bake. Collins has been executive director ever since, growing the nonprofit to teach thousands of Alexandria adults in the Alexandria Detention Center, the Arlington County jail, and in more than a dozen local nonprofits.

“I’m not ‘leaving’ leaving,” Collins told ALXnow. “I am stepping aside, and I know that probably sounds like splitting hairs, but yes, we are looking for a new executive director to take over day-to-day operations.”

Heard pays artists to teach workshops on poetry, visual arts, improvisation, etiquette, public speaking, dance and singing. Last year, the nonprofit gave 229 classes to nearly 2,000 participants, according to their annual report.

“Thank you for being part of my healing,” wrote a female inmate from the Alexandria jail in a testimonial. “Your investment is priceless. Please continue doing what you are [doing,] truly saving lives.”

The nonprofit also offers karaoke every Wednesday night to inmates in the Alexandria jail.

“I go with our professional singing teacher and opera singer, Bharati Soman, and she gives a singing lessons and we sing along to karaoke songs,” Collins said. “Some of those guys can really sing.”

Heard will pay $25,000 to the new executive director, a financial shift for the organization since Collins took in a meager annual salary of $7,500 in 2022.

The organization is funded by the City’s Office of the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, grants and private contributions. Heard also collected $23,000 in this year’s Spring2ACTion fundraiser, their biggest annual fundraising event.

“I think this job is good for someone who needs a challenge,” Collins said. “I’m thinking of maybe somebody who was a recently retired from a corporate, a nonprofit or a federal leadership position that wants to stay engaged and help but doesn’t necessarily want the 40-to-60 hour week. Or it could be a highly successful maybe parent who took some time out to raise a family, but now the kids are in school and they want to get back into something rewarding.”

Collins will be staying on in a reduced capacity and hopes that the new executive director is organized, personable and has a vision for future growth.

“There’s no reason why communities can’t be adopting this model across the country,” Collins said. “And when I say this model, I mean, using local artists to help support and address whatever the local need happens to be.”

Photos via Heard/Facebook

Recent Stories

Charleston style home with courtyard entrance patio

The Alexandria Police Department (APD) is conducting a death investigation near Four Mile Run Park at 4100 Mount Vernon Avenue. According to APD, the investigation is active and no further…

Eisenhower Avenue’s days at the hot-spot for local drag racing could be coming to an end soon. At a Transportation Commission meeting last week, Senior Transportation Engineer Dan Scolese laid…

There’s a liquidation sale happening at Robcyns (3660 King Street) at the Bradlee Shopping Center. Merchandise is currently being sold at half-price. The store reportedly opened in 1963, and sells…

For many remote workers, a messy home is distracting.

You’re getting pulled into meetings, and your unread emails keep ticking up. But you can’t focus because pet hair tumbleweeds keep floating across the floor, your desk has a fine layer of dust and you keep your video off in meetings so no one sees the chaos behind you.

It’s no secret a dirty home is distracting and even adds stress to your life. And who has the energy to clean after work? That’s why it’s smart to enlist the help of professionals, like Well-Paid Maids.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Monarch Montessori School is now enrolling infants, toddlers and three year-olds for its full-time Montessori program. We offer a seamless enrollment process which involves submitting an application for review, paying the enrollment fee and submitting the remaining enrollment materials before your proposed start date.

At Monarch Montessori School, we aim to provide an authentic Montessori learning experience. At our Alexandria location, we currently have 8 openings in our Primary classroom (ages 3-6), and 6 openings in our Toddler classroom. Additionally, there are 3 infant openings at this time.

Our first floor space is an open concept. Infants and toddlers share the same large classroom. Children ages 3-6 are in two classrooms on our second floor. Each classroom has one lead and assistant guide. We offer a year-round program, with intermittent breaks for Spring Break and Winter Break.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Annual Gala & Auction

Do good while having a good time at the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria’s 38th Annual Gala and Auction at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. The fun begins with a 2-hour open bar reception while mingling with 499 other Alexandrians who

×

Subscribe to our mailing list