Prison Art Program: Recognizing Different Knowledge and Forms of Communication
I worked as an intern at the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Belfair, Washington, which is part of the Washington State Correctional Institutes. The intern program involves working with incarcerated women. To work with the segregated population of women in Mission Creek Correctional Center, I had to enter the prison with all its restraints and restrictions. After checking in at the front desk, going through metal detectors and leaving behind all personal items, obtaining a badge with my personal number and photo, I was escorted to the gym. There, I began working with the women, engaging in movement exercises, painting and writing activities, all of which culminated in two nights of live performances and a published anthology of writing. I shall explore how the art residency program may work as a healing and educational experience for the women involved, as well as for those who enter into the prison to attend the live performance. The art program educates about community, develops new forms of communication, recognizes different forms of knowledge and histories, as well as systems of power; and in process, hopefully raises awareness and questions about important issues facing both inmates and those on the outside.
Keywords: Prison Art, Systems of Knowledge, Power, Communication
Student, Visual Culture, NYU