Spoken Word Ensemble
Adult Double Dutch
Lens & Pens
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What others say about
The Spoken Word
The group appeals to both the hearts and minds of educators. They entertain while at the same time the message hits home.
Sheryl Denbo, Director, Mid-Atlantic Equity Center
For years, The Spoken Word has delivered the joys of self - expression and communication to young people.
Nancy Schwalb, Coordinator, DC Creative Writing Project
Uplifting, culturally-based, and always fun.
C. R. Gibbs, historian and author of Black Explorers


The Lens & Pens Project provides creative expression workshops for individuals in care at Saint Elizabeths Hospital (SEH) in Washington, DC. Staff members at SEH judge the workshop series to be one of the most successful activities brought to the John Howard Pavilion, both therapeutically and artistically. In the first year of doing the poetry workshops, a man who had never smiled and seldom spoke began to do both as a result of these sessions. The program now includes painting and photography. This project has received funding from The DC Department of Mental Health, The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Other individualts in care have had their words published or broadcast on the radio, and their artwork displayed in venues around the city, including The Department of Mental Health Forensic Training Conference, The Annual Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. Memorial Mental Health Conference, Church of the Pilgrim, The Court Urgent Care Clinic at DC Superior Court, and local art exhibits. The patients’ work is also regularly featured in their newsletter, Reflections.

Developing an identity as a writer, poet, rapper or other artist improves  self-concept, and identifies them as an artist who has something desirable to contribute to the community and not just as a consumer of mental health services. Everyone benefits when they rejoin society having learned healthier outlets for the expression of their feelings and the use of their talents.


Art In An Unexpected Place

View the trailer for the documentary about the work we do at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.


Creative Expression with Forensics Patients – learn how to engage mental health patients using creative writing.

Is There A Griot in the House?: Collecting Family Stories – learn ways to discover, compose and record stories about personal and family history.

For more information, contact us at joyjones100@cs.com.

SEH Patients
Poets at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC read from Reflections, the chapbook
of their original writings. This project is supported through the DC Commisison on the
Arts & Humanities and the DC State Mental Health Planning Council.

Hear the poets reading their poems (audio):

The Power of Poetry
The Shortest Day
A Poem

Here's more original poetry by the Lens & Pens Poets (audio):

Joy Reading Robert's Poem
Walter L.

  A Series of Poetry Recitations Captured on Video: