By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Cal State San Bernardino Prison Arts Collective has organized its second major exhibition at CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles, featuring original artwork from incarcerated artists at six state prisons.
This year’s exhibition, called “Beyond the Blue,” will run from July 22 through Sept. 2, and will include an accompanying series of panel sessions called “Art and Restorative Justice.” The opening events on Saturday, July 22, will include the panel discussion “What’s in a Name” at 3 p.m., and a reception from 4-7 p.m.
The 2017 exhibition follows the program’s well-received 2016 exhibition and accompanying book “Through the Wall: Prison Arts Collective.”
Dozens of paintings, drawings and handmade objects created by participants in the CSUSB Community-based Art (CBA) Prison Arts Collective project will be on display. The art focuses on five themes: Alternative Materiality; Collaboration and Partnerships; Line as Language; Dreams, Imagination and the Surreal; and the Experience of Incarceration.
“Beyond the Blue” seeks to dismantle the stigma of outsider art through the serious consideration of work being produced by CBA participants within correctional facilities.
The exhibition will highlight artwork by those participating at all levels, including participants in advanced classes and those just emerging in their artistic experience.
A majority of works featured have been donated by the artists with the goal of sharing their work with a wider audience and raising funds to support ongoing CBA programming in prisons and in the community. Viewers are invited to participate through a written or visual reflection in a collaborative response book, an informal tour with a teaching artist and/or by purchasing a work of art with all proceeds going directly to support ongoing CBA Prison Arts Collective classes.
All artworks are made by CBA participants in the Prison Arts Collective projects at six state prisons including the California Institution for Men and the California Institution for Women in Chino; the California State Prison, Los Angeles County in Lancaster; the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco; and the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and the Ironwood State Prison in Blythe.
Alongside “Beyond the Blue,” the Prison Arts Collective will host a comprehensive series of panel discussions titled “Art and Restorative Justice.” These panels will address issues related to the flourishing of arts in corrections in California, including Art in the Justice System and Art and Healing.
The series will begin at CB1 Gallery with the first panel, “What’s in a Name?” on July 22 at 3 p.m. This panel will interrogate questions surrounding the importance of language and the use of more humanizing nomenclatures for those participating in correctional facility arts programming. How do the various etymological functions perpetuated by institutions impact how we speak about art created by incarcerated participants? Can artwork being produced by incarcerated artists be separated from its source — should it be? What are the power dynamics implicit within these relationships and can they be changed?
This panel will be moderated by Varina Bleil, executive director of the Youth Symphony Orchestra and CBA/PAC advisory council member, and panelists thus far include exhibition co-organizers, Annie Buckley, CSUSB associate professor of art and founding director of CBA, and April Baca, CBA program assistant and USC graduate candidate, artist Alex Kizu, and CBA site lead Jenny Montenegro.
All photographic images featured have been provided by Peter Merts to supplement the accompanying artwork within the exhibition. Additional photographs of CBA and other arts in corrections programming may be found on Merts’ website.
Traveling Iterations of Exhibition and Panel
It is the goal of the organizers that this exhibition and related panel travel to venues near the correctional institutions where the artists are currently incarcerated, so that family and community members can view and appreciate the artwork created by those inside the institutions. Updates on additional venues will be posted on www.prisonartscollective.com as they become available.
All images included in this exhibition have been photographed and archived and will be made available online via the CBA/PAC website.
About the Prison Arts Collective
The Prison Arts Collective is a project of California State University, San Bernardino Community-based Art, an initiative dedicated to expanding access to art at sites that would not otherwise have access to it. CBA is founded and directed by artist/writer and associate professor of visual studies, Annie Buckley, in collaboration with students, alumni, and volunteer artists and writers.
The Prison Arts Collective is dedicated to facilitating art in local prisons and supporting further collaborations between the state university and prison systems. This project is supported by Arts in Corrections, an initiative of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Arts Council.
About CSUSB Community-based Art
CSUSB Community-based Art is dedicated to facilitating art throughout the local community at sites that would not otherwise have access to it, including after school programs for at-risk children, shelters for youth, low-income housing for seniors, and correctional facilities including state prisons, the CSUSB Reentry Center and County Probation.
On campus, students learn about the social, cultural and economic barriers to access to art. On site, students, alumni and volunteers shift the paradigm by facilitating art with populations that are vulnerable and at-risk.
Because of the large number of artists included in this exhibition and the fact that many remain anonymous due to either personal or institutional choice, the artists’ names are included with the works list as available by artist’s choice. Please note: all participating artists from the California Institution for Women are listed by first name only upon request from that institution.
This exhibition is co-organized by April Baca and Annie Buckley with installation design by Humberto Reynoso. Organization support was given by the graduate student research assistants Timothy Haerans and Heather Roessler, and CBA site leads Jessica Agustin, Diana Hernandez, Jenny Montenegro and Christina Quevedo. CB1 Gallery owner and Community-based Art Advisory Council member Clyde Beswick was instrumental in implementing this exhibition.
CB1 Gallery is located at 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave. in Los Angeles. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and Sunday by appointment. For more information, contact CB1 at (213) 806-7889 or Annie Buckley at email@example.com.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit the university’s news site at news.csusb.edu.