South Carolina Philharmonic Collaborates with Arts Capacity to Bring Music to Local Prisons

by Madonna

In a groundbreaking partnership, the South Carolina Philharmonic has joined forces with Arts Capacity, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to bringing live chamber music, art, and culture to prison centers. The initiative aims to harness the transformative power of the arts to inspire positive change among incarcerated individuals.

Arts Capacity, founded by acclaimed violinist Holly Mulcahy, sees this collaboration as an opportunity to fulfill its mission of using art and music to support those in need. By providing live music concerts at Columbia’s Camille Graham Correctional Facility, the organizations hope to foster healing and personal growth through creative expression.


The initiative aligns with existing music programs in prisons, such as the efforts of Jazz musician Steve Simon’s band, the Kings of Jazz, who have brought music to the Perry Correctional Institute and provided donated instruments for prisoners to practice and perform with.


Mulcahy emphasizes the importance of tailoring the concerts to the preferences of the incarcerated audience and collecting data to measure the program’s impact on factors like emotional intelligence and family connections, as well as reducing recidivism rates.


Susan Cafferty, the South Carolina Philharmonic’s director of education and community outreach, expresses optimism about the partnership’s potential to become a long-term program. As part of their commitment, the orchestra plans to offer free concert subscriptions to participants upon their release.

With 20 SC Philharmonic musicians eager to participate, the initiative’s inaugural concert is slated for later this year. Mulcahy and the South Carolina Philharmonic envision a future where the influence of music extends beyond prison walls, fostering positive outcomes within families and communities.

Mulcahy reflects on the profound impact of music, stating, “Through this partnership, we aspire to build a future where the impact extends far beyond the correctional system, influencing positive outcomes within families and communities.” Together, they aim to create a future that embraces the power of interconnectedness and shared growth through the uplifting essence of music.


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