People's Paper Co-op is freeing incarcerated women, helping them re-enter society

ByWendy Daughenbaugh WPVI logo
Monday, February 22, 2021
People's Paper Co-op: Women using art to free other women from prison
Using old criminal records as their canvas, the People's Paper Co-op is advocating for women behind bars.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Inside the Village of Arts and Humanities, Faith Bartley is hand-making paper, creating what will be the canvas for art or the pages of a hand-crafted journal.

The art is an exercise in healing. The paper is made from old criminal records, including Bartley's own, creating a symbolic and clean slate for the women to re-enter society and embark on a fresh start.

Bartley grew up in North Philadelphia with, as she says, a mom who was addicted to drugs and a dad missing in action.

She also turned to drugs and did several stints in prison. Every time she got out, she vowed not to go back in but, the high school graduate and Army veteran could't convince anyone to hire her.

Then she found the People's Paper Co-Op, a place that would teach her how to make paper and how to advocate for women still behind bars.

For Mother's Day, the women sell their art to raise money for moms who can't post cash bail. The past two years, they've raised more than $120,000 for the Mama's Day bailout

The People's Paper Co-op | Art sale website | Facebook

2558 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19133