Like Etsy for prison art: Art for Redemption announces $100K in pre-seed funding

Like Etsy for prison art: Art for Redemption announces $100K in pre-seed funding

Prison Art Etsy

Defy Colorado alum Buck Adams announces pre-seed funding round led by Rockies Venture Club to share and buy art created inside prisons

DENVER (Feb. 12, 2020) — Like Etsy for prison art, Art for Redemption, an e-commerce startup built specifically to showcase and sell art created by incarcerated individuals or those on parole, today announced the successful raise of $100,000. The funding round was led by Rockies Venture Club (RVC), with additional participation from Rockies Impact Fund donations, angel and individual investors. Art for Redemption’s vision is to create the country’s most robust online marketplace for artwork sourced from inside prisons, and the company is expanding to partner with social justice and criminal reform organizations to bridge the gap between incarcerated individuals and society at large. For participating artists, Art for Redemption can create opportunities to pay child support, victim restitution and other societal debts. Through a pilot program with the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), Art for Redemption is now collecting artwork in anticipation of a public launch later this year. “While serving time, I witnessed the talent and the ingenuity of my fellow inmates, and I’m very grateful to Rockies Venture Club and their angel investors for supporting our vision to share this incredible art with the world,” said Buck Adams, co-founder and CEO of Art for Redemption. “With this funding secured, we will continue to develop our platform and will soon initiate a nationwide call for art created inside prisons.” Currently, more than 2 million people are being held in the criminal justice system nationwide, and in Colorado, the prison population is expected to increase 20% by 2025. With a pronounced shortage of viable employment and housing opportunities available to formerly incarcerated individuals, the odds of successfully breaking the cycle of incarceration are low, with more than 50% of those returning to prison within three years of release in Colorado. Founded by Buck Adams, a veteran, social entrepreneur and formerly incarcerated individual at Arkansas Valley Correction Facility, Art for Redemption harnesses the talent, creativity and human ingenuity inside prison walls. While at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, Adams began working with Defy Colorado, an independent nonprofit organization helping individuals with criminal histories create legal business ventures, to bring his idea to life. “I first became aware of Buck’s ideas while mentoring in prison with Defy Colorado, and what stood out was the ability of art to be a channel for communication,” said Dave Harris, director of operations for Rockies Venture Club. “Our support, connections and investment signal that we believe Art for Redemption has the potential to be a financially successful business, with a good mix of social impact and a quality business model.” About Art for Redemption Born inside the Colorado prison system, Art for Redemption is like Etsy for artists that are incarcerated or on parole. Our mission is to share the incredible artwork, and the stories behind that art, with the outside world. Art for Redemption was created through a collaboration with Defy Colorado, a nonprofit organization preparing currently incarcerated individuals for successful careers upon release through both traditional career paths and entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit About Rockies Venture Club Rockies Venture Club is the oldest and one of the largest angel groups in the U.S., founded in 1985, whose mission is to advance economic development by actively connecting the most promising entrepreneurial companies with angel investors, venture capitalists and other community members. Every year, Rockies Venture Club offers over 140 educational programs, mastermind groups, angel forums and two major conferences for both investors and entrepreneurs.
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