Announcement
August 9, 2021

Six projects addressing mass incarceration in the United States

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

View of Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of Louisiana, Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, New Orleans, 2019. 

Rafael De Jesus, The Way It Is, 2014. Courtesy the Prison Creative Arts Project, University of Michigan.

View of Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of Louisiana, Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, New Orleans, 2019. 

MONTNEY, Bright Future—Distant Past, 2019. Courtesy the Prison Creative Arts Project, University of Michigan.

The exhibitions address topics such as the incarceration of women, art-making within the prison system, and solitary confinement.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (MSU Broad Art Museum) is pleased to announce the opening of six exhibitions addressing issues of mass incarceration in the United States during the fall of 2021.

The roster of exhibitions includes the critically acclaimed traveling exhibition Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of the United States, which originated at the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, and an accompanying major exhibition, Free Your Mind: Art + Incarceration in Michigan. It also includes Silenced: Voices from Solitary, an exhibition presented in partnership with Zealous, featuring stories of those who have experienced solitary confinement firsthand, and two exhibitions highlighting work created by youth through the Youth Arts Alliance, Exposure to Light: Pinhole Photography by youth residing in correctional facilities and Making Space: Designing Youth Futures by youth aging out of the foster care system. An exhibition entitled Connections, New Beginnings: Artists in Transition featuring the work of artists in the Linkage Project, a program of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) that affirms the creativity of adults who have returned from incarceration, will open across the street at the MSU Broad Art Lab.

An opening celebration for all of these exhibitions will take place on September 9, 2021 from 7–9pm.

Per(Sister) explores mass incarceration in the US through art inspired by the interviews of thirty formerly incarcerated women of Louisiana—the state known as the “Prison Capital of the World.” Co-curated in partnership with formerly incarcerated women, Per(Sister) seeks to build awareness of the crucial issues that impact women before, during, and after incarceration.

The exhibition shares stories of loss, hope, despair, triumph, and persistence in a variety of forms, demonstrating simultaneously the universal struggles faced by communities impacted by incarceration and the personal resilience of each woman featured. This presentation will also include follow-up from several per(sisters) to highlight changes in their lives since the exhibition first opened at the Newcomb Art Museum in 2019.

Per(Sister) was curated under the leadership of Mónica Ramírez-Montagut with curatorial assistance from Laura Blereau and production assistance from Miriam Taylor. It was developed in equal partnership with per(sisters) Syrita Steib and Dolfinette Martin with additional support provided by Operation Restoration and Women with a Vision in New Orleans. For this exhibition at the MSU Broad Art Museum, curatorial assistance is provided by Dalina A. Perdomo Álvarez, curatorial assistant, and Jasmine Jordan. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Eli and Edythe Broad endowed exhibitions fund.

Presented in tandem with Per(Sister), Free Your Mind presents artwork created by individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated in Michigan. The exhibition explores the fundamental issues that shape conversations around incarceration today, and invites us to consider the role art-making plays in prisons as a liberating force. It centers on four key topics of inquiry: Michigan’s length of sentencing and overcrowding in prisons; the impact of incarceration on women; youth incarceration; and the dangers of COVID-19.

Free Your Mind is co-curated by Steven L. Bridges, senior curator and director of curatorial affairs at the MSU Broad Art Museum, and Janie Paul, senior curator and co-founder of the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Eli and Edythe Broad endowed exhibitions fund.

View all upcoming exhibitions at MSU Broad Art Museum here.

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