Parable Path Maine

Parable Path Maine continues with a new series:

“Are There Any Rights I’m Entitled To?” Carceration and Liberatory Futures

Incarceration, decarceration, containment, liberation… 

This exciting and informative series brings together local, national, and internationally renowned artists, activists, and scholars for a deep reflection on the impact of carcerality on our social well-being. Learning and sharing through music, film, poetry, and deep dialogue, the community can parse the many ways ideologies and technologies of containment impact our mental, spiritual, and physical well-being and prompt us to consider ways we can envision and realize liberatory futures.

A continuation of Parable Path Maine (PPM), led by former McKeen Visiting Fellow Toshi Reagon (2022–2023), this series follows the well-attended events Reagon, Judith Casselberry, and the PPM team organized last year on Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower (including a sold-out Merrill Auditorium event). As a result of increasing attention to the prison industrial complex and police violence, discussions about mass incarceration have been plentiful in mainstream media and on college campuses in recent years. Through film, performance, and discussion, acclaimed artists Reagon and Liza Jessie Peterson will engage Bowdoin, Brunswick, and Portland-area communities in a deep reflection on the impact of carcerality on our social well-being. With this series of events, we seek to continue building bridges between the College and wider mid-coast communities, using arts, education, and deep discussion as problem-solving tools.

Events cosponsored by Maine Humanities Council, the Charles F. Adams Lectureship Fund, the Department of Africana Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program at Bowdoin College in collaboration with Maine Inside Out and Mechanics’ Hall.

Singer, composer, musician, producer, and curator Toshi Reagon was appointed Bowdoin College’s Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow and led a yearlong inquiry into racial justice, climate justice, gender justice, and faith during the 2022–2023 academic year. While the fellowship year has come to a close, Parable Path Maine continues to deepen its roots through sustained relationships and programming.


Parable Path Maine came into being when the Indigo Arts Alliance, Maine Humanities Council, and the McKeen Center at Bowdoin College collaborated to embody the theories and practices of change illustrated by Octavia E. Butler’s canonical novel, The Parable of the Sower—that we need one another for survival and success as a planet, that art can be an opening for truth telling and healing, and that right relationships with humans and with the natural world around us are one and the same. Toshi Reagon became a channel for this form of community organizing and artistic engagement, illustrated in part by the archive of multi-disciplinary events and programs facilitated over the year and testimonials from participating community members.

Bowdoin College greatly values the collaborative spirit, artistic sensibilities, and organizational acumen that Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) and Maine Humanities Council (MHC) brought to actualizing Parable Path Maine. These organizations understand how harnessing the power of art and literature as mediums for social change helps us to expand our vision and create a more just and loving world. They honor the capacity of community to transform and work towards healthy and healing relationships with one another, with all living beings, and with the Earth.


Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) is a Black-led organization dedicated to the professional development and amplification of Black and brown artistic vision and practice. Founded in 2018 and formally launched in 2019, IAA is an incubator space with a mission to build global connections by bringing together Black and brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in creative process through an Artists in Residency program.

Visit to learn more and support their work.


The Maine Humanities Council (MHC), a statewide nonprofit organization, uses books, poetry, and big ideas to bring people together to discuss issues of importance and create positive change in Maine communities. Their programs and grants encourage critical thinking and conversations across social, economic, and cultural boundaries. The MHC is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is the home of Maine’s Center for the Book through the Library of Congress.

Visit to learn more and support their work.


Maine Inside Out (MIO) is a Maine-based non-profit that engages communities in theater for social change. MIO believes that creating and sharing original art is a powerful tool for youth leadership, community dialogue, and social change. MIO has been creating original theater for over 15 years in schools, community sites, and prisons. MIO performance troupes have toured locally and nationally. In addition, MIO has hosted regular open mics, public performances, and community events across the state.

Visit to learn more and support their work.

toshi.pngToshi Reagon has been an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Creative Futures Artist-in-Residence with the Carolina Performing Arts organization; other recent projects include her involvement in the Met Civic Practice Partnership; and Parable Path artist residencies at the University of Michigan, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Strathmore College, and Emerson College, from which she received an honorary doctorate in 2022. Additionally, in 2021 Reagon received the Religion an Arts Award from the American Academy of Religion, The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and the APAP Award of Merit for Achievement in the Performing Arts. Please visit Toshi Reagon’s website for her full bio and more information about her expansive career.

Photograph and Artwork Credits: Banner image by Daniel Minter. Performance photo by Ehud Lazin. Headshot by Flora Hanitijo.

“Toshi Reagon's presence and engagement with the Parable of the Sower feels like an incredible opportunity for Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff to reflect on the change that feels imminent, and that we all are undoubtedly a part of.”

—Monica Bouyea ’14, McKeen Center Associate Director, 2021-22