Anyone interested in Alameda County legal history may want to consider a visit to the Oakland Museum of California’s show – “Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing.”
The show (extended through August 27) includes some of the images Lange took in the Alameda County courts in the 1950’s for an assignment from Life magazine. The series purpose was to document the actions of the Alameda County Public Defender’s office. Life never published the photos.
Image – Dorothea Lange, Defender, Mother with Baby, 1957, OMCA, Gift of Paul S. Taylor
Centro Legal de La Raza, an East Bay legal aid organization, has collaborated with renowned artist Micah Bazant, NASP, Forward Together and City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, to create public art installations to promote conversations around immigration, and what migrating really means for individuals and families. The art features women and children who have sought refuge in this country, and who form part of the community that Centro Legal serves.
The exhibit will be open at Centro Legal’s offices (3400 E.12th Street) starting July 6th, and is currently displayed at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco (261 Columbus Avenue).
This week’s image accompanies this post.
New exhibit now at the Alameda County Law Library ACLL is opened Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30. We are located at 125 12th Street in Oakland.
Images offered by the inmate artists of the San Quentin Prison Arts Project. Their art will be on display starting on January 9 through March 13, 2017 at ACLL Oakland.
Here is a statement about the San Quentin Prison Arts Project.
VOICES AND VISIONS FROM INSIDE SAN QUENTIN
January 9-March 13, 2017
The inmate artists of San Quentin Prison Arts Project are honored to be invited to exhibit their paintings, drawings and prints at the Alameda County Law Library. Access to arts in prison can transform lives by teaching self-discipline and hard work, and by helping incarcerated individuals find hidden talents. The dedicated teachers of Prison Arts Project mentor inmates, starting them on paths to further education and higher self-esteem with a true motivation to change their lives. Artists’ families are proud of the artwork and stories sent home. The process of growth and self-awareness helps enable inmates to stay out of prison and become valuable participants in our larger communities.
Exhibits like this are one way for inmates to give back to society. Several inmates chose to create work around ideas of law and justice, so there are portraits of our Supreme Court judges, and other leaders such as Angela Davis and Geronimo. Another artist created a poignant image of women waiting in the prison visiting room, hoping their family member is the next one through the door, and others used historical images for inspiration. In addition, many chose to share their dreams and visions of nature and life on the outside. We are especially proud to be able to include work from some formerly-incarcerated artists who are eager to continue to support our program from the outside!
Exhibits, books, and other creative projects create a bridge that helps break down stereotypes about inmates by sharing human feelings and experiences. Inmates who pursue the arts can develop their human potential to grow beyond the mistakes of their pasts. Bringing art opportunities and education to people in institutions has been shown to help lower recidivism rates and improve lives. We all benefit from reducing the costly cycle of incarceration. This is of great importance since over 90% of current inmates will return to our communities.
The Prison Arts Project, started in 1977, is the major program of the William James Association. It was the original model for Arts-in-Corrections, a statewide prison arts program which ran from 1980-2010 in all 34 California prisons, before it was reduced and then cut from the CDCR budget. The San Quentin Prison Arts Project continued uninterrupted with private funding support since 2003. Through the efforts of the William James Association, California Lawyers for the Arts, and many supportive legislators and individuals, California is currently reviving an Arts-in-Corrections Pilot Program through the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Arts Council. It is hoped that all California prisons will have one or two classes offered within 2017.
Effects of Arts-in-Corrections Programs: A new one-year study of inmates in four California correctional institutions revealed that arts programs improve prisoners’ behavior and their attitudes about themselves, thus encouraging them to pursue other academic and vocational opportunities. Further studies are now being supported through the CDCR and CAC.
This confirms research from the 1980’s, when a pair of studies found that participants in the California Department of Corrections Arts-in-Corrections Program had 75% fewer disciplinary actions and 27% lower recidivism rate than the general prison populations. This translates into reduced incarceration costs to the public as well as better lives.
To learn more about the program or these studies please visit: http://www.PrisonArtsProject.org
SAN QUENTIN PRISON ARTS PROJECT WOULD LIKE TO THANK:
- Arts-in-Corrections, a partnership of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabiliation and the California Arts Council
- Kalliopeia Foundation
- Ronald Davis, Warden, San Quentin State Prison
- Sam Robinson, Public Information Officer, SQ State Prison
- Steven Emrick, Community Partnership Manager, SQ State Prison
- Laurie Brooks, Executive Director, William James Association