Evolve by The Red Door Project

2020 Honoree - Robert E. Gard Award


Evolve explores divergent points of view between police and Black Americans. A series of monologues about racial profiling and community wellness from the points of view of both police and Black citizens, Evolve exemplifies the goals of the Gard Award by centering social issues within arts and culture and pairing creative impulses with solid measurement and data to understand and measure meaningful impact.

Evolve is the result of three years of listening, relationship building, and partnership development. In 2019, almost 600 Oregon law enforcement professionals (local police, FBI, district attorneys, judges, etc.) experienced Evolve, and each production was evaluated with pre and post surveys and follow-up with participants to gauge longer-term impact. Ninety percent of participants reported increased motivation to listen and more deeply consider the perspective of people with vastly different life experiences. The overwhelming response to Evolve included a feature on PBS NewsHour, and Evolve will soon begin touring nationally in partnership with local law enforcement entities.

Co-founded by Lesli Mones and Kevin Jones, The Red Door Project’s mission is to change racial ecology through the arts. Art can help people move through the natural tendency to protect and begin to address reforms needed in our criminal justice system. Onstage, stories become a tool for community-building, enabling people to connect with their common humanity across difference, discover shared values, take on alternative views, see multiple truths and understand what it feels like to be someone else.