Caits Meissner is a writer, community artist & facilitator invested in the transformative & rehabilitative capacities of imagination & creativity.


 

Sketch by the incredible artist/facilitator Mensen, visual notes she took when visiting my classroom at Rikers Island.

 

Teaching & Community Background.

With a significant history in community arts, Caits was an integral team member in developing programs for organizations such as Tribeca Film Institute, The Bronx Academy of Letters, Urban Arts Partnership, The Facing History School and The Lower Eastside Girls Club. She has taught, consulted and co-created extensively for over 15 years across a wide spectrum of communities including public schools and youth programs, college classrooms at The New School University and CUNY, prisons, jails and reentry programs, disability support and advocacy programs and needle exchanges.

From 2012-2014, Caits ignited the #GrowFierce community, an intensive writing course supporting women in exploring artistic expression and profound self-examination. Caits and her team served over 500 women worldwide in the guided online engagement that matured into State-sponsored cultural exchange in Malaysia, live youth and prison programs, and a series of public events.

In 2017 Caits reenvisioned the concept of book tour, pairing public speaking engagements with opportunities to work with incarcerated writers on The Humans That We Are Prison Poetry Tour — an effort that received social change grants from The Pollination Project and the Puffin Foundation, as well as an honorable mention for Split This Rock's 2017 Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism. 

Caits currently serves as part-time faculty at City College of New York, where she teaches writing in conjunction with the study of Narrative Medicine and social science fieldwork. She is a freelance educator, curriculum writer and diversity, equity and inclusion trainer. 


 

"Caits made enormous impact on our organization, inspiring students to produce work beyond their wildest dreams; helping teachers unlock creative potential giving them courage to take risks; advancing our strategic thinking as a community, and bringing her vision, optimism, hope and soul into every situation. 

Wherever Caits is, that is where the sun is shining."

— PHILIP COURTNEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER,
  URBAN ARTS PARTNERSHIP

 


 

"When Caits facilitated a poetry workshop with women, ages 16-24, in a New York correctional facility, I was in awe of the way she quickly built strong, authentic relationships with participants and was able to transform an often chaotic environment into a space ripe with emotional safety."

— KARLA ROBINSON, MS.ED, ARTS ADMIN, EDUCATOR & POET

 

Student and mentor poets at Bluestockings Books for a reading in support of Haiti. 

Student and mentor poets at Bluestockings Books for a reading in support of Haiti. 


 

"Caits Meissner is a powerful force of nature. As an educator she has an uncanny ability to connect her audiences, classes, and participants not only to their own work and inner voice, but to each other as well. Her work is a reflection of her spirit: rigorous, loving, genuine and thought-inspiring. 

The results are always the same, a profound experience that produces life lessons, life revelations and astoundingly powerful work!"

— Mikal Lee, MANAGER,Education and Humanities at Brooklyn Academy of Music


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