<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>Washington, DC—Department of Mental Health officials will receive a donated guitar for therapeutic and rehabilitative use by patients at <?xml:namespace prefix = st2 ns = "urn:schemas:contacts" /?>SaintElizabethsHospital who were committed through the criminal courts. The guitar will be presented at a press conference at 2 pm, Friday, December 14, at the PrisonArtGallery, 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501. Stephen T. Baron, Director of the Department of Mental Health which operates Saint ElizabethsHospital, Dr. Patrick J. Canavan, Hospital CEO, and Mr. Joseph Henneberry, Director of the Hospital’s Forensic Services, will receive the donation.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
The guitar giveaway initiative, organized by the Prisons Foundation, is modeled after the Jail Guitar Doors program in Great Britain started by well-known English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. During his recent U.S. tour, Billy Bragg raised money for the local Jail Guitar Doors instrument donation program.
“We are delighted to accept this guitar,” said Director Baron. “Saint ElizabethsHospital was a pioneer in music and dance therapy and helped launch a national movement using creative arts as a mechanism for healing and expression. More than 70 music therapists have been trained at Saint Elizabeths.”
Officials representing prisons across the country will receive guitars which were provided at cost by Chuck Levin’s WashingtonMusicCenter. Other local officials receiving guitars include Devon Brown, Director of the DC Department of Corrections.
Ron Kemp and Dennis Sobin, two former jail house guitarists who have recorded CDs and appeared at the KennedyCenter, also will attend the press conference. Sobin serves as Director of the Prisons Foundation.