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In the Justice System

For more than a decade, Carnegie Hall’s programs in justice settings have played a central role in fulfilling the Hall’s mission of making great music accessible to the widest audience possible. We believe that everyone benefits from tapping into their own creativity and engaging with music and the arts. Music can catalyze personal growth and build agency, empathy, and connections with others.

The Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) serves people of all ages who are justice-involved through programs in which participants write and perform their own music, collaborate with others, and develop their artistry. Workshops explore how the arts can be a powerful tool for self-expression, expand opportunities, and amplify program participants’ voices, which are often silenced by the justice system. Through creative experiences, participants, staff, teaching artists, and audiences grow and build community.

In our longstanding work to develop programs for and with people involved in the justice system—a system that creates barriers to the development of self-expression, and disproportionately impacts and harms people of color—Carnegie Hall leverages the arts as a tool for justice reform. This is achieved by serving those involved in the justice system through initiatives that encourage creative expression, and by using our platform to share their stories. Learn more about our programs that serve people who are system-involved.

Ages: Youth and Adults
Geography: NYC, National, International

Programs in the Justice System

Musical Connections

Through Musical Connections, men at Sing Sing Correctional Facility work alongside visiting artists to compose and perform original music through workshops and performances. In addition to developing music skills, an advisory board composed of men who have returned home provides support along with music-making and performance opportunities.

Ages: Adults
Geography: New York State

NeON Arts

NeON Arts—a free program in partnership with the Department of Probation—offers creative workshops across the five boroughs at community-based probation offices and other sites. Local stakeholder groups select meaningful arts projects for their communities through a participatory budgeting process. Youth can explore a variety of creative genres, and develop important social and career skills.

Ages: 16–24
Geography: NYC

Lullaby Project

The Lullaby Project pairs new and expecting parents with professional artists to write and sing personal lullabies for their babies. Extending across the country and around the globe, the Lullaby Project enables partner organizations to support families in a variety of community settings, including correctional facilities.

Ages: Adults
Geography: NYC, National, International

Future Music Project

Future Music Project gives young musicians from across New York City the opportunity to create, perform, and produce their own original music. In partnership with the Administration for Children’s Services, youth who are justice-involved create and learn about music through instruction, curriculum, and videos led by WMI teaching artists.

Ages: Teens
Geography: NYC

Watch & Listen

Watch & Listen

I’ve learned more than just the technique of performance—I’ve learned about self-confidence and collaboration with others, which I so richly enjoy.
—James, Musical Connections Participant


Musical Connections helped me realize that, regardless of my incarceration, I still have a voice and power to change the lives of others around me. I do this by continuing to assist my musical community at Sing Sing and to provide service as a case management prerelease coordinator for those who return home.
—Dexter, Musical Connections Advisory Committee Member


I want my music to show that it helped me change my life and gave me a new outlook on how I live my life now.
—Paul, Musical Connections Participant
Learn with Carnegie Hall: Musical Connections

Music can be a tool of hope and healing, providing a way to process and respond to even the most challenging times. Witness these artists—along with faculty, family, and friends—as they share their vision of a path forward through music.

Listen: Musical Connections

Learn More

Ford Foundation

Lead support for Musical Connections is provided by Nicola and Beatrice Bulgari and the Ford Foundation.

Ameriprise Financial

Major funding is provided by Ameriprise Financial and MetLife Foundation.

Additional support has been provided by JMCMRJ Sorrell Foundation.

Weill Music Institute, NYC Probation, NYC, NEA, NYC Cultural Affairs, NYC Young Men's Initiative logos

NeON Arts is a program of the NYC Department of Probation in partnership with Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

Lead support is provided through NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Innovative Criminal Justice Programs Initiative with sponsorship by Council Members Keith Powers, Vanessa Gibson, and Jimmy Van Bramer.

Major support is provided by The Kresge Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of New York through Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Vanessa Gibson, Robert Holden, and Deborah Rose, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Young Men's Initiative.


CreativityWorksNYS is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Lead support for Lullaby Project is provided by Nicola and Beatrice Bulgari, The ELMA Music Foundation (U.S.), William Penn Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Ameriprise Financial

Major funding is provided by Ameriprise Financial, Ardian US Foundation, MetLife Foundation, and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

Additional support has been provided by JMCMRJ Sorrell Foundation and Mary Anne Huntsman Morgan and The Huntsman Foundation.

Public support has been provided by the NYC Health+Hospitals Arts in Medicine Department, with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. Additional support is provided by the Manhattan Borough President and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Weill Music Institute's programs are made available to a nationwide audience, in part, by an endowment grant from the Citi Foundation.

Lead support for Future Music Project is provided by Nicola and Beatrice Bulgari and The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation.

Ameriprise Financial

Major funding is provided by Ameriprise Financial and MetLife Foundation.

New York City Administration for Children's Services

Public support is provided by the City of New York through the Administration for Children’s Services.

Youth Opportunity Hubs

Carnegie Hall is a partner in The Door's Youth Opportunity Hub, funded [in part] by the New York County District Attorney's Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII).

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