In 1974, Mimi Fariña, of the memorable folk duo of Richard and Mimi Fariña and sister of Joan Baez founded Bread & Roses. Tragically, Richard Farina died in a motorcycle accident in 1966 on Mimi's 21st birthday. In the years that followed, Mimi was looking for something deeper and more soul satisfying than a commercial musical career. She saw the overwhelming isolation of institutionalized people who were, often forgotten by society. To meet their need for human contact, Mimi conceived the idea for Bread & Roses in 1974. Her vision then was that the warmth and human contact of a live performance would be healing to audiences shut away from the outside world, and at the same time life enhancing for the performers. Bread and Roses has been delivering the performing arts to institutionalized populations in the Bay area for 30 years. (See "Remembering Mimi")

It was during the 1980’s that David Lescht had the experience of performing live in prisons and hospitals along the west coast and later throughout Spain. As manager and member of a not very well rehearsed band called Brotherhood, David was struck by the impact this band had on such facilities in spite of the Band’s shortcomings. He always wondered what it would be like to go into a facility with a seasoned and professional group of musicians, following in the legendary footsteps of BB King, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt all known for their powerful performances in prisons.

In the spring of 1994, Bob Schapiro who was the drummer of the defunct Brotherhood Band sent David a Bread & Roses brochure which contained information on how to start up a similar organization in one’s own community. Bob was then enrolled in a Doctoral Program at the University of Massachusetts. He suggested that David start a Bread & Roses type endeavor in New Mexico and that then he would join him after he completed his studies. The idea germinated with David, and a year later in the spring of 1995, he launched Outside In. Concurrently, Bob Schapiro suddenly passed away with a heart ailment before David could even let him know about the birth of Outside In.

The first Outside In event was held in June 1995, at Santa Fe’s Emergency Youth Shelter, with Vycky Pratt Keating singing and talking with shelter residents about her own experiences as a teenage runaway. Outside In then began presenting performances and presentations at a wide range of institutions and social service programs in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and other regions in New Mexico. The number of Outside In performances began to expand dramatically in the succeeding years from 84 events in 1996 to 120 in 1997 to 200 in 1998 to 267 in 1999 to 367 in 2000 to 521 in 2001 and to our current yearly average of 500 performances and workshops.

In July 1998, Outside In began to provide free weekly guitar classes at the Santa Fe County Juvenile Detention Center as well as weekly guitar workshops for those youth released from detention. Outside In arranged to have guitars donated to the Santa Fe Boys & Girls Club by the Bonnie Raitt/Fender Guitar Program. In 2000 this guitar insruction program evolved into the Youth With Promise program, which is a continuous series of free weekly art, music and dance educational workshops for high-risk youth in detention, shelters and residential treatment programs and for other underserved youth in the community, that includes an aftercare component especially to enable juvenile offenders to continue their instruction once they are released into the community. The program was then renamed “Youth With Promise” (formally known as Creative Arts for At-risk Youth) in order to accentuate the positive reality of these troubled but promising youngsters and to remove the stigma of being labeled “At-risk”. Since the program began more than 2,500 young people have been impacted by these weekly arts instuction workshops inside and outside of detention.

his endeavor was initiated with no significant funding, until 1996 when the program was supported with a grant from The McCune Foundation and a matching grant from The Santa Fe Community Foundation as well as other grants from smaller family foundations and donations from individuals and businesses. TheFrost Foundation and The LANL Foundationand New Mexico Arts also funded the work ofOutside In early in its history and provided crucial support. In 1999, New Mexico Arts recommended Outside In to The Andrea Frank Foundation of New York which was interested in funding small and needy organizations that were effecting social change. In February of 2000 we were invited to submit a proposal and were one of seven organizations in the US and Canada to receive a three year $60,000 grant. In 2001, Outside In was one of 5 organizations in New Mexico to receive a Challenge America Fast Track grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This grant is specifically to support our Saturday arts instruction workshops for underserved youth at El Museo Cultural Center in Santa Fe. We have recently received an Arts Learning for Youth Grant award for the 2003-2004 period which is now our third consecutive year of funding from The National Endowment for the Arts. Other major financial supporters of Outside In includeThe Buckaroo Ball Committee, The Doris Goodwin Walbridge Foundation, The Brindle Foundation, The Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, The Albuquerque Community Foundation and The Santa Fe Rotary Foundation.

In March 1996 Outside In sponsored its first fundraiser concert at the former Copeland-Rutherford Gallery, with a number of top-notch local performers featured. Then in 1997, Outside In presented Roger McGuinn, founder of the legendary Byrds in a benefit concert at The James A Little Theater in Santa Fe. (A documentary based on the concert had aired on Albuquerque’s public radio station KUNM.) In 1997 and 1998, Outside In also produced two very successful evenings of music on the Plaza in Santa Fe as part of the El Corazon de Santa Fe summer festival. The City of Santa Fe awarded Outside Inwith a $5,000 first-place prize for the best event of the 1997 summer festival. In 1998 the City askedOutside In to kick off the summer festival. The City of Santa Fe also asked Outside In to help organize and stage-manage their annual Community Days live music on the plaza. Our Freefest ’99 and 2000 outdoor and indoor live music event and benefit at Borders Books featured many of the best local musicians who donated their time and talent making it a huge success.

In the summer of 1998, Sam Adams, Board Member and Photographer (his photos grace this website) put together a photo exhibit at The Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe titled, Inmates, a series of photographs taken at the NM Women’s Correctional Facility in Grants during Outside In events.

Last summer, Outside In was funded by the City of Santa Fe to revive a summer music series on the Plaza in Santa Fe, renamed “Summer Bandstand” from the previous “Summerscene”. Outside In appointed a community based working committee which selected some of the best local musicians who performed every Tuesday afternoon and evening throughout July and August. This was a wonderful free community event featuring some of the best music in Santa Fe and was also an excellent and rare opportunity for local artists to display their talent in the public arena. Outside In hopes to expand this music festival in the summer of 2004.

For five years Outside In was under the Fiscal Agent umbrella of Bread for the Journey, a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing the natural generosity of ordinary people. In December 2000, Outside In was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The former Advisory Board was the nucleus for the formation of it’s present Board of Directors.