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Open Invitation

If you have participated in the project and would like to contribute to the blog, please contact Gregory Sale.

After living in Phoenix for so many years, it is impossible to escape the stories surrounding Tent City jail. When the opportunity to tour Tent City was extended as part of Gregory Sale’s project It’s not just black and white, I was excited about the chance to answer some of the questions I had and to see it with my own eyes.

On a Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of the Tent City, we introduced ourselves and stated reasons for joining the tour. The group comprised of artists, curators, teachers and professionals involved in social work and the legal system. Many had come to satisfy curiosity; others had a sense of urgency to get some direct experience.

When we entered, I expected metal detectors and armored officers, but there were none. Our group was led into a beige room, and the door shut behind us. The officers leading the tour spoke of the history of Tent City, its low operating costs, that the general length of stay is just over three weeks. They said Sheriff Joe wanted to make the jail experience so bad that lawbreakers will not want to return. The officers looked to be in their early twenties, young I thought. How had they come to choose a job such as this? How did older inmates perceive them?

They showed us a bulletin board crowded with confiscated items – tools made with duct tape, weapons made from socks and other objects made of fabric and trash. The most striking was a bar of soap with intricate skulls carved out of it; it was beautiful. And as my gaze fixed on it, one of the officers explained that the inmates were reprimanded for possessing these items and using County property to create them. I could understand why a weapon was against the rules, but sculptures? How was one supposed to spend their time, hour after hour after hour?

We then toured a visiting room with a series of booths complete with video screens and phones for visitors to view and talk to inmates. A woman and a small child sat at the first booth as our group crowded around to hear the officer’s description of this small space. This was the first moment the tour felt like voyeurism to me – a feeling that would only intensify as we continued.

Next an officer opened a door to reveal a day room that serves as a cafeteria and space for the inmates to get away from the elements, hang out or watch TV. We took turns looking in. Some took photographs. The room was full of long tables and was bustling with inmates. Increasingly aware of our presence, some began to move out of sight while others began to stare and shout things, though there was too much noise to make out anything they said. I wanted to look longer but felt like an intruder. Clearly there is no privacy in jail.

The officers brought out a sample lunch bag — two pieces of fruit (usually oranges or grapefruits), bread and one small side of peanut butter. Dinner, the second and final meal of the day was similar but also included a meat. The Sheriff had eliminated salt and pepper some time ago to cut costs.

We next entered a corridor where the officers began to show us sample clothing worn by the inmates. Suddenly, they asked us all to stand against the wall and stay there. They explained that new inmates were arriving. Without a moment to process what they had said, the new inmates began to walk through, two-shackled side by side in a line. The hallway was no bigger than 10 feet wide, with members of our tour on either side. My heart racing, I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact. I could only image what they were feeling being brought to this place, and being swept by a group of tourists. I wanted to look, to see the emotions on their faces, but I focused on their wrists, on the shackles going by, one after another until they were gone. I didn’t look up because I was a little scared and uncomfortable witnessing this moment. The officers continued on explaining the uniforms as though nothing had happened. As the clothing was passed around and a standard issue black and white striped shirt printed with “Sheriff’s Inmate” came to me, I couldn’t help but wonder how many inmates had worn this single shirt? It was a moment of realization that in here, inmates, no matter how different from one another, shared everything.

Finally we were escorted through Tent City. The place I had come to see. It felt more like a war camp than a jail. The beds were in rows that seemed to go on infinitely covered by a military style canopy. The sun was leaking in towards the bottom bunks. The temperature was moderate on the day of our tour but during the summer, this yard must feel like an unrelenting sauna. Inmates were told to move on as we approached their tent. Had our presence driven them from the only place that was theirs – a bunk bed dressed in pink sheets? I wonder if they had only disdain for us or if they were also somehow pleased to have us there.

The tour ended with an opportunity to visit one of the towers. A large lift extending far above the jail fence so officers can view the entire facility. Two visitors and an officer went up at a time; waiting allowed the rest of us to talk about our experiences and ask more questions. When it was my turn, it was not the view that I found most interesting but the stables that lay just beyond the main grounds. The officer explained that it was a livestock rehabilitation center for abandoned and abused animals, a no-kill shelter, comprised mainly of horses. The officer explained that five inmates were allowed to tend the animals and that very few of these inmates ever returned to Tent City. If the system were designed to rehabilitate, here was a perfect platform for it. The results seemed hard to argue with. I guess the positive things don’t make it out to the media as quickly as the bad ones.

As I drove away, free from the confines of Tent City, I realized I had as many questions as when I had arrived; only now they were different. Even a few days after, questions and conflicts swarmed my mind. The criminal justice system is immensely complex, as are the professed reasons why we incarcerate who we do and why, how we define and justify punishment versus rehabilitation and what the limitations of that punishment are. If long-term community safety is the intended outcome of our penal system, then rehabilitation needs to be prioritized. Isn’t a low budget facility without those resources a contradiction? Is humiliation and deprivation really going to instill a sense of self worth, or does it just perpetuate the underlying issues? Who are the individuals being hired within the system and what is their experience? Was it right to have tours of jails and prisons? Had my choice to come been the right one? The questions I had arriving at Tent City were mostly about logistics. I left with a far more complex understanding of jail and questions about our criminal justice system as a whole. Ultimately, I feel that the public should be aware of what is happening in the criminal justice system and should know what resources and measures are being used. The treatment of inmates and prisoners should be transparent, and we were on the tour to see for ourselves.

Jes Gettler, Artist

It was a couple of very busy concluding weeks for Gregory Sale’s social practice residency/exhibition It’s not just black and white, which officially closed on Saturday, May 14. Led by the artist, individuals came together through artistic gestures, gatherings and programs that have figuratively and literally broken down walls, working toward dismantling often blindly accepted and stereotypical power and victim structures in our society that are consistently unspoken or brushed aside. They are the difficult conversations that need to take place in an open society to move forward in positive directions, yet they often do not occur because of our biases, preconceived notions and unwillingness to listen in respectful ways to opposing viewpoints.

The ASU Art Museum has a long tradition of providing a safe venue for community discourse – including Francesc Torres’ Too Late For Goya (1993), a real-time analysis of the first Iraqi conflict, Desert Storm; school programs collaborating with artists Brain Weil for his project AIDS Photographs (1994); public conversations and panels addressing civil war and conflict through the exhibition programs associated with Art Under Duress: El Salvador 1980 – Present (1995); social injustices presented by artist Sue Coe’s visits and programs in association with Heel of the Boot (1996); twenty-one Cuban artists visiting and directly engaging with our community through Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island (1998); and the numerous projects, panels and outreach programs addressing city growth and the responsibilities associated with such growth through the exhibitions Sites Around the City: Art and Environment (2000), nooks and crannies (2001), New American City: Artists Look Forward (2007), Defining Sustainability (2009) and Open for Business (2010).

It is this institution’s curatorial approach through a social practice mind-set that sets it apart from the majority of institutions addressing contemporary art in the United States.

We open the institution to the artist-driven ideas of social practice, rather than inviting the artist into the institution under the guise of social practice with the agenda of solving one of the museum’s problems, such as way-finding, age-group audience building, empty spaces or a one-off exhibition, as is the case with many of the institutions within the United States today. Dedicating a long-term initiative to social practice, the ASU Art Museum has fully committed to this type of artistic practice and, more specifically, to the artists and their vision. With that commitment, we find that artists often create what seem like new problems for our institution rather than solving existing ones, but we embrace their ideas and work to realize them to their fullest potential.

I provide this background to give a better understanding of what Gregory has achieved over the past three months and give you an insight into how much this overall initiative has developed through the experiences and research of this institution’s past projects. Gregory’s project definitely pushed the barriers for our institution, and we are much stronger and better informed because of his unbelievable efforts, vision and artistic practice.

As I mentioned above, it has been a three-month residency, but this post is just going to cover the last two weeks of the project. The project has concluded, and we are now in the process of sorting documentation, reflecting on what has happened, submitting reports to museum participants and supporters, and fundraising for a more expanded catalogue, which will document the entire project.

Any conversation about issues of criminal justice and incarceration in Arizona would be incomplete without the acknowledgement of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s role in current policy. Yes, he is a polarizing figure — his Tent City Jail complex, the striped uniforms, pink underwear, immigration round-ups — but from the beginning it was important that this be acknowledged in a way that brought value to It’s not just black and white. At the beginning we stepped lightly, as a key component of Gregory’s vision was working with the inmates within the gallery space of the museum. The inmates’ visit had been approved by the sheriff, so we worked hard to avoid any conflicts occurring prior to the completion of the inmates’ visits. Once Gregory was set into the project and the inmate visits were complete, we began to brainstorm about best approaches for inviting the sheriff into the overall conversation. Gregory and I felt it was important that people have a firsthand opportunity to hear from the sheriff regarding his policies and programs, instead of the sound bites fed through media. It was an opportunity for individuals to hear directly, to ask questions in person and get past the media circus or shout-down that often occurs. We went to the sheriff’s office and met with him in person, inviting him to the ASU Art Museum for a roundtable conversation titled Considering Matters of Visual Culture and Incarceration, and he accepted.

On April 29, the gallery space was packed with individuals from all walks of life: students, museum staff and patrons, civic leaders, former inmates, activists and others. Prominent figures at the table with Sheriff Arpiao included Frantz Beasley, former convict and Director of Arizona Common Grounds; Barbara Broderick, Chief Probation Officer, Maricopa County Adult Probation Department; Jeremy Mussman, Deputy Director, Maricopa County Public Defender; Jerry Sheridan, Chief, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office; and Gordon Knox, Director, ASU Art Museum, as well as Gregory and myself. The conversation opened with an overview of the project, which I presented, followed by a presentation by Gregory on the history of the stripe in visual culture and incarceration, which included the forced wardrobe of 14th-century prostitutes who had been pardoned by St. Nicolas, Charlie Chaplin imagery from early films, Monopoly “Get Out of Jail Free” cards, and performance artist Vanessa Beecroft’s Ponti sister project in Pescara, Italy.

Gregory then engaged the sheriff in conversation, asking him about his use of visual identifiers within the current Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, mentioned previously in this blog. The sheriff explained how most of these uses came to fruition within the structure of the system as guided through his vision. It was an insightful conversation, with audience members being able to judge for themselves the value of their use. The sheriff also talked about the programs within the system of which he was proud, including the ALPHA and Journey Home programs; individuals from both programs participated in It’s not just black and white activities. There were lots of questions and conversation on the topic of exploitation, but what I found most telling from the program was Sheriff Arpiao’s insistence that it is extremely difficult to attract press to the positive programs in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. After experiencing what I have over the course of this three-month residency with Gregory, I think the sheriff may be on to something. Yes, it is so easy to get press in our society for the over-the-top, often exploitive and morbid occurrences in society, but much more difficult to get the same amount of press for the positive. Think of your nightly news — it almost always leads with the sensational and graphic story, saving all positive stories until the last five minutes of the telecast. So when the topic came up about the sheriff’s posting of online “Mugshots of the Day” which viewers can rate, something clicked in my mind. I do find this an abuse. The sheriff stated that “media post such mugshots all the time,” but it still doesn’t make this activity right. What I find to be the even greater problem is that society engages these sites, makes them popular, visits and votes. It becomes a sort of joke — “how funny some of these people look, especially since they are someone other than us” — but people visiting the site might not consider the fact that many of these individuals are pre-sentenced and still presumed innocent by law, and that they may have mental illness issues or may be victims of abuse. These images become a part of the visual culture and perhaps desensitize us to the real issues we need to address as a whole society. So perhaps, in an effort to draw attention to the positive, programs such as ALPHA and Journey Home, which do appear to be having an impact, should be the  featured spotlights on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s website.

That afternoon was capped off with a visit to the space by artist Mel Chin. Mel was in the Valley for a think tank on public art and is a friend of the ASU Art Museum. You might recall the museum’s participation in his Fundred Dollar Bill project last year and our screening of his animated film project 9-11/9-11. It provided us an opportunity to get an update on Mel’s project and to share with him the activities of Gregory’s over the past three months. It’s always great to have Mel here in town.

May 2nd marked the third and final visit by the high school students from Adobe Mountain and Black Canyon detention centers. Through temporary (escorted) furloughs arranged by Gregory, we were able to get to know these young people in amazing ways, working together through artistic discovery and practice. This day was packed with activities rooted in the promise Gregory made to them on their first visit, that they as a group would decide the best approach and work together to tear down the community grafitti wall. The wall had been written upon, first by inmates on day one, then by those who visited the space over the course of the three-month project. The students were handed small notebooks and asked by the artist to rediscover the wall, thinking about 12 specific questions and responding to those questions any way they wished in their notebooks. Upon completion of this activity, there was a group reflection and sharing conversation. The young artists were then provided disposable cameras, each with one of the 12 questions printed on it. The students were asked once again to rediscover the wall and document components of the wall’s collective gestures in photographic form based upon the questions, which they did. It was then time for lunch, so we all headed to a local restaurant for a hearty meal, returning to the museum to find all the photographs taken by the students developed and spread across tables within the gallery. Again, there was a group reflection and sharing conversation, leading into the discussion on ideas concerning the tearing down of the actual wall.

Then the tools came out — hammers, ladders, crowbars, drills. Working with Gregory, the students began on the back side of the wall, dismantling the drywall from the aluminum stud structure. Once the back of the wall was removed, it was again time for conversation. The students examined both sides of the wall and brought their ideas for best approaches to use in taking down the front side. It was decided that, if possible, the wall should come down in one large piece, with every attempt made to prevent it from splitting or cracking. The students worked to free the drywall from the vertical studs, hoping that the horizontal studs would still hold it in place, and it worked. Once the wall was freed, ladders were place on the back side so that the students could position themselves to push from the top. On the count of three everyone pushed and the wall came down in one large piece — success!

The remainder of the day everyone worked together to clean-up and then create an installation from the remaining materials of the wall within the space, before sitting together to enjoy bowls of ice cream and one last conversation about the overall experience. It was at that moment one of the young girls shared the fact she is getting out in a month and already had scheduled a meeting with the associate dean, based upon her meeting the associate dean on the students’ second visit to the museum, to talk about scholarship opportunities and the application process for attending ASU’s School of Dance.

A few days later, working with the collaborative support of ASU Project Humanities, noted scholar, activist and author Angela Davis presented a public lecture titled “Incarceration of Education? The Future of Democracy.” With over 600 people in the room and another 100 outside, Ms. Davis gave an inspiring hour-long talk focused on the industrialization of both the criminal justice and education systems, providing the background history on the development of these structures, their current state and the impact these approaches are having today in the United States. Her talk was followed by a brief conversation with Gregory and audience questions. The audience was then invited to join us in the It’s not just black and white gallery space for a book signing and powerful live dance/music/spoken word performance by Grisha Coleman, Eden McNutt, Sam Pilafian, Eileen and Monica Page Subia titled “Days/Months/Years.”

The final week of the project kicked off with a program of training for community volunteers working with the recently released, led by the National Advocacy and Training Network through Support, Education, Empowerment and Directions (NATN/SEEDS). The seven-hour training was conducted with mentors from the GINA’s Team’s Welcome Home Program and members of the public.

May 9th marked a wonderful day, which started with a meeting in the gallery of the Maricopa Adult Probation Division Unit. Immediately following that meeting we began to reunite with some of our collaborators who painted the original stripes on the gallery walls when they were inmates of the Maricopa County Jail. Now released, Joshua, Michael, Grayson, James and Erik (you might remember Erik from the previous post; he came back after release and proposed to his girlfriend in front of the graffiti wall) all joined us back in the space, coming on their own time to help Gregory and a few of his original students and community collaborators paint the black stripes white. It was a very symbolic dismantling of this space that had been visually charged by these stripes over the past three months. It was so great to reconnect with these guys and to see them in their personal clothing. They all mentioned how the ALPHA program helped them move forward and how their original experience in the museum space was their second best day of jail (the first being the day they were released). They are starting new jobs, reconnecting with family and moving forward in positive directions. Over the course of the final week, the guys came back for two additional visits, continuing to paint the black stripes out. It has been a pleasure to have them participate in the project, and I look forward to their continued engagement with the programs here at the ASU Art Museum.

The final Tuesday night presented the program Changing the Face of Re-Entry. AZ Common Ground and its partners, South Mountain Re-Entry Coalition, Kingdom Communities of the Valley (KCV) and Phoenix Police Department, presented the history, evolution and success of the community engagement model that is truly changing the face of re-entry. The program has been so successful in south Phoenix that it is now guiding programs in Houston and Miami. When you see the passion of the individuals, including members of the Phoenix Police Department, making a significant difference and affecting policy from inside the system, it gives you hope in our ability to find solutions to the current difficulties we face as a society. And to hear that AZ Common Ground came about through conversations among inmates within the system trying to figure out how they were going to survive on the outside with only about $75 to their names, it makes all that they have accomplished in such a short amount of time even more astonishing. A big shout out to AZ Common Ground’s Frantz Beasley for putting this together and allowing us the honor of hosting the event within the gallery space. A truly inspiring evening!

And as Gregory had planned from the beginning, the last week provided opportunities for reflection. On May 10th, Conscious Connections led a walking meditation from the space. The organization specializes in yoga and meditation study with at-risk and diverse communities.

During the afternoon of May 12, a group of individuals who are trained in association with the national organization Prison Visitors came together with Museum staff and Gregory’s collaborators for a conversation and contemplation. The individuals leading the conversation are specially trained and approved to visit federal and military institutions. For many prisoners, these visitors are the only contact they have with the outside world. Their insight and conversation during the afternoon transpired into a silent reflection period as we all concluded our day at the museum.

The last day of the project was marked by the revisit of our collaborators, who put finishing touches on the black stripes to make them white. The space was returned to a white box gallery of sorts, with hint or what had occurred still present. To conclude the project, collaborators and public were invited to join in a one-hour introduction to meditation, a very fitting way to conclude such a project and move forward from what we have experienced.

Thank you to all the individuals who participated in programs and activities, and to those who made this entire project possible. The project would not have been a success without the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the openness and guidance of the ASU Administration and legal team, specifically Jose Cardenas, Art Lee and Bruce Hooper; Kwang-Wu Kim, Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; ASU Art Museum Director Gordon Knox and Associate Director Heather Lineberry; Bill Hart, Senior Policy Analyst, Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and most specifically MaryEllen Sheppard and our collaborator SRT Officers; Dean of Humanities Dr. Neal Lester and Brittany Allcott of ASU Project Humanities; Choreographers Elizabeth Johnson and Teniqua Broughton; Lindsay Herf and Katie Puzauskas of the Arizona Justice Project; Dr. LaDawn Haglund and Dr. Alan Eladio Gómez of ASU’s School of Social Transformation (Justice and Social Inquiry); Ana Maria Tomchek, Elmar Cobos, Margie Lucas, Adam Henning, Laura Dillingham, Peter Luszczak of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections; Sue Ellen Allen of Gina’s Team; ASU Art Museum preparators Stephen Johnson and Chris Miller; artist collaborators Kara Linn Roschi, Matthew Mosher, Jason Dillon, Stephen Gittins, Ricardo Leon, Ashley Hare, Claes Bergman, Matthew Garcia, Brett Thomas, David Tinapple, Rebecca Ferrell, Cory Bergquist, Amariell Ramsey, Kimberly Haug, Nathan McWhorter, Kathleen Arcovio, Catherine Akins, Chris Santa Maria; members of Gregory’s Advisory Committee; and most importantly the fourteen adults and fifteen youths who took a chance with us while they were serving time, and were open to our process and willing to join us in efforts of move things forward in positive ways.

THANK YOU!

-John Spiak, Curator

Click to view slideshow.

It’s not just black and white is supported by grants from
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and
Friends of the ASU Art Museum.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

During the course of Gregory Sale’s exhibition It’s not just black and white, the space was home to many lively discussions.

On Feb. 1, Gregory hosted “Thinking About Re-Thinking,” a panel moderated by Darren Petrucci, Director of the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University. The blurb for the event, which was part of the Museum’s “Re-Thinking the Museum” series, went like this:

“Is the museum defunct? Can it shed the elitist and colonial past? Can it be remade? Gordon Knox, Director of the ASU Art Museum, will argue for a new, socially engaged museum; Adriene Jenik, Director of ASU’s School of Art, will discuss the appeals and perils of museum involvement from the artist’s point of view; and Richard Toon, ASU’s Director of Museum Studies, will argue that the inherent contradictions of the museum are why it continually changes, why it must be continually rethought and why there is no such thing as the museum.”

Which is pretty much what happened, except that Adriene had to cancel, so Gregory represented the artist’s perspective on the panel and read aloud something that Adriene had written for the occasion, as well as offering his own perspective. And the conversation went in some fascinating and unpredictable directions, as you can see for yourself from the abbreviated version posted here.

ASU ART MUSEUM invites you to join us for the final week
of programs for the three-month-long project

It’s not just black and white
Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6
http://itsnotjustblackandwhite.info/

(Sheriff Joe Arpaio event, Black Canyon/Adobe Mountain students, Angela Davis event)

 
This public project has engaged many constituencies of the criminal justice system – including last weeks programs with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, students of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections Adobe Mountain and Black Canyon high schools, and the standing room only event with Angela Davis.

The multiple dimensions of the project, anticipated and unanticipated, now invite a period of evaluation, reflection and contemplation.

We invite you to join in a series of activities during this final week.

Tuesday, May 10, 4 pm – 5 pm
A walking meditation led by Conscious Connections. This organization provides yoga and meditation study in at-risk and diverse communities.

Tuesday, May 10, 6 pm – 8 pm
AZ Common Ground, along with its partners the South Mountain Re-entry Coalition and representatives from Phoenix Police Department, come together to consider how South Mountain is “Changing the Face of Re-entry.”

Thursday, May 12, 11 am – 5 pm
A small group of former inmates who helped paint the black and white stripes on the gallery walls in February, and who have now completed their sentences, will return to the museum to paint the black stripes white.

Additional programs will be announced.
Please consult the calendar at http://itsnotjustblackandwhite.info/

It’s not just black and white began with the current state of corrections in the
U.S. and Arizona, most specifically Maricopa County, and continues to develop
over the course of the artists three-month residency, concluding May 14, 2010.

It’s not just black and white is supported by grants from
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and
Friends of the ASU Art Museum.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

Notes on Gregory Sale’s It’s not just black and white (blog # 3)
A blog by Arthur J Sabatini, Associate Professor of Performance Studies, ASU

Though in certain ways it is obvious, there are not many discussions about the visual culture and aesthetic dimensions of the criminal justice system. Or, to be more precise, for all the novels, works of theater and performance, as well as films, television series and documentaries that relate the dramas of crime and punishment, law and order, policing, criminality and incarceration – something about the physicality, viscerality and “look” of the subject often seems unknowledged unless it is as aspect of high drama (as in the series, Oz). What I am getting at – and what It’s not just black and white engages most directly – is that there is a formalized, public aesthetics to the order and actions of the agencies of the State and Nation that defines space, time and relations of people and the agencies of governmental power.

As for the everyday law enforcement system, when it comes to buildings and other sites, the citizen knows immediately – and is meant to know – what to expect. In any ordinary type of interaction with the police, courts or jails, everything is peremptorily framed by the architecture, signage and the expressions and body language of the officials in any given place. Walk into a national or municipal building and the signs, postings, furniture and décor, along with uniformed and armed persons, establish a stage set for verbal interactions of statements that involve personal identification and a declaration of purpose. This is accomplished with the necessary, but always present non-descript, standardized business props: sign-in sheets, clipboards and pens, filled-in or printed out temporary id tags. Video monitoring systems may or may not be visible. When it comes to witnessing or doing “official” business, the rules of the environment are constraining (which is why when violent disruptions occur in the courtrooms it is palpably disturbing). Invariably, official buildings are also with roped off walkways, waiting areas and more benches than just about any other space you ever visit. The atmosphere and postures associated with sitting and waiting create a tone for bodies and expressions that all but defines the physical experience public encounters with bureaucracies. Everything is proscribed to be orderly, predictable and impersonal. Signs of ambiguity, emotionality, individuation are not valued, though some people act out their anger or grief at being there. Interaction between or among individuals is regulated and, if it involves someone in legal custody, mediated by appointed guards. Of course, if you are a judge, lawyer, police officer or work in these places in any capacity, your clothing, demeanor, awareness of the other personnel and layout of the building as well as your expectations of others are adjusted (somewhat like people who work in hospitals)

Now, we expect certain visual qualities and a general sense of how people are supposed to look and behave in official public spaces, just as we have an idea of what it is like to be in a hospital, museum or classroom. To disrupt or conflate or invade that space – say, if you were to a clown costume to a courtroom – puts employees and officials in a position to react – and enforce – their rules and to exercise their authority. In these times, there are police or security personnel in every government building who often carry weapons and/or communication devices like walkie-talkies. The reality of normalized office life is – maybe even should be – bland.

What It’s not just black and white accomplishes as a project is to physically transport people, imagery, attire and gear and (some of) the mechanics and performances of jail to an art museum. Said another way, the look and experience of incarceration moves to a site dedicated and empowered to authorize symbolic display, creative and aestheticized production, free conversation and movement, public interaction and unfettered reflexive examination and interpretation. The project announces itself with the stripes painted on the ASU Art Museum Wall and relies on multiple written texts, photographs, video tapes and recordings, and a succession events (and the blogs on this website). Art museums, as in all bureacurcies, are also places for archives and they value the retaining of individual works, collections, documentation and records. Art museums are both related to the communities they serve and are part of a worldwide collective of not only other art museums but museums in general.

The important point to emphasize here is that It’s not just black and white is not simply an effort to represent the facts and experiences of the criminal justice and incarceration system by artists and the institution of the ASU Art Museum. It revolves around activities largely by non-artists, including inmates, families, and state employees (although, of course, it is organized by an artist, Gregory Sale). The numerous events, meetings, panels and conversations – including tours of Tent City – are not by definition artistic or aesthetic. However, as It’s not just black and white takes place in the ASU Art Museum and through its agency, the symbolic and aestheticized aspects of the events and the criminal justice and incarceration system are privileged, with the implications that: a) the seemingly unremarkable everyday life of law enforcement and bureaucracy can become or may have inherent aesthetic qualities; b) the art museum can re-present far more facets of human life than it has previously; c) the arts, artists and arts institutions are capable of certain types of social and political activity, if not activism; d) the arts, artists and arts institutions have the potential to operate with external rules and boundaries of other areas culture. That is, the arts and artistic work can investigate, engage, represent, present, organize all or any subjects or actions, or, as in It’s not just black and white, multiple, eclectic, discontinuous and simultaneous projects – even with very few actual artists or art involved. Since such work is not explicitly constrained by an economic, political or ideological agenda – it is essentailly neutral except insofar as it is about art and aesthetics and a determined content which, ultimately creates what is said or shown and its forms of media.

In short, It’s not just black and white does not itself state what is not just black and white, nor does it deliver an interpretation of the central themes of the project (criminal justice and incarceration in Arizona). Rather, it initiates and creates a space – as, arguably, no other activity or institution can – for activity, discussion, and response and significant dialogue.

April is drawing to a close, and it has been an extremely busy month for projects associated with Gregory Sale’s Social Studies project It’s not just black and white.

The month began with the third public tour of Tent City Jail, another informative, eye-opening and direct experience opportunity for all involved.

On April 9, the Museum was fortunate to host a portion of the School of Social Transformation, Justice & Social Inquiry’s 1st Annual ASU Human Rights Film Festival. The afternoon, organized by the School of Social Transformation in collaboration with the Tempe Chapter of Amnesty International and ASU Art Museum, was based on the theme of Prisoner’s Rights and Militarization of Justice, screening the films Cointelpro 101 and The Response. The screening was followed by a lively discussion on the topics, led by Alan Eladio Gómez, Ph.D. Borderlands Scholar and Assistant Professor in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at ASU.

The organization Reentry and Preparedness, Inc. (REAP) hosted a meeting on April 12 for its board of directors and advisory board. Reentry and Preparedness, Inc. (REAP) is dedicated to providing green job training, transition training, and mentorship for the families of the reintegrators from prisons and jails. The event was organized by Carol Manetta, Executive Director of REAP, as part of It’s not just black and white Open Bookings.

The Civil Dialogue Project on April 13 focused on creating a safe space for divergent viewpoints. Using the technique of civil dialogue, ASU faculty from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication facilitated a dialogue focused on two hot topics: incarceration and prisons. This project was an opportunity for students and the public to dialogue safely about issues that could be polarizing, in an effort to promote understanding. The event was facilitated by Clark Olson, Instructional Professional, and Jennifer Linde, Lecturer, at the Hugh Downs School of Communications.

Through arrangements made by the artist, working in direct relationship with the administrations of Adobe Mountain and Black Canyon high schools of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, fifteen male and female students joined us at the Museum on April 18th for their first of three full-day visits.  The students, along with their teachers, administration and ASU students, received a tour of the Museum and were provided a brief introduction to It’s not just black and white by the artist. We all walked to the School of Art, where we joined Stephen Gittins’ photo class and were given a tour of the studios and darkrooms. We took a walk through campus to the Memorial Union, where we enjoyed a lunch and conversation together. Upon arriving back at the museum, the art supplies were ready for the students to add their artistic expressions to the public wall within the gallery space. ASU Graduate Teaching Assistant Ashley Hare, of the ASU School of Theatre and Film, then led the students through a series of performance and improvisational workshops. Finally, the students walked over to the back of the Nelson Fine Arts Center theatre spaces and worked with graduate students through a puppetry workshop, creating their own puppets out of the masses of supplies made available to them.

A program the evening of April 19th combined two diverse groups in conversation.  The first group was criminal justice students of Professor Cathryn Mayer from Brookline College who arranged guest speaker Deputy Director Charles Flanagan from the Arizona Department of Corrections.  The second group were students from ASU professor Dr. Alesha Durfee’s Women and Social Change class who organized a panel including Maricopa County Chief Probation Officer Barbara Broderick of the Adult Probation Department, Sue Ellen Allen of Gina’s Team, Peggy Plews of Arizona Prison Watch and Donna Hamm of Middle Ground Prison Reform.  The entire group of sixty-five individual in attendance received a wide range of views and perspectives before engaging in respectful question and answer dialogue for an extremely successful event.

This past Saturday, April 23, as an Open Booking, The United Teams for Restorative Justice took over the space, providing a panel presentation of five organizations and their constituencies who engage with the criminal justice system, helping individuals heal and move forward in life. The five organizations in attendance and being recognized for their tireless efforts included Moma’s House, for its dedication to helping abused women escape the abuse and start a new life; Arizona Peace Alliance, for having a Department of Peace added as a cabinet level position in the government and for legislation aimed at teaching peaceful solutions; Gina’s Team, for its work to ensure inmates basic life needs are met; Reentry and Preparedness, Inc.,  for its dedication to support and renew those who have been incarcerated and deliver them gently back into society; and finally Phoenix Nonviolence Truth Force, for its trainings in peaceful solutions to everyday problems.  According to United Teams for Restorative Justice, it is is an organization dedicated to helping any party having contact with any criminal justice agency. They help not only the defendants and the victims but their families as well.  The event was organized by the United Teams David DeLozier.

This morning, April 26, the Maricopa County Adult Probation Executive Management Team (EMT) held their monthly meeting in the gallery. The EMT consists of a Chief Probation Officer, three Deputy Chief PO’s and eleven Division Directors. The Maricopa Adult Probation has about 1,100 employees and is responsible for supervising a monthly average of 58,264 probationers. The EMT meets monthly to focus on the strategic plan, managing for results and departmental goals in order to ensure that the departmental mission is realized. The meeting was organized by Therese Wagner as part of the Open Bookings.

And tonight we host the event “Incarceration and the Mentally Ill: Punitive or Restorative Justice?,” a formal dialogue with approximately twenty participants discussing the care and treatment of those with mental illness as their lives intersect with the criminal justice system. The goal is to bring together individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences, from the advocates for increasing rehabilitation of mentally ill offenders to those who feel the criminal justice system in place in Arizona is working well. The event is organized and managed by Mary Lou Brnick of the non-profit organization David’s Hope, with support from the Office of Individual and Family Affairs at the Arizona Department of Behavior Health Services and the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. The public is invited to observe the dialogue and participate during Q & A.

But it has been the past few days that have provided some amazing reconnections…

Last Friday a Cub Scout group visited the space. The scout leader, an Eagle Scout in ranking, was in the space sharing insights with his scouts. He encouraged them to express themselves artistically on the public wall as he spoke to them about the topics of the overall project. As he completed his conversation with the boys and allowed them time to draw, I approached and thanked him for his thoughtfulness toward the project and for sharing that thoughtfulness with his troop. It turns out their scout leader has a connection with the Museum; he toured the location many times and had been involved with educational outreach programs as a student at McClintock High School in Tempe.  He expressed how those experiences truly influenced his life and how he is so pleased to be able to share those similar experiences with his young troop.

On Monday our students from Adobe Mountain and Black Canyon reconnected with us for their second visit. It was so wonderful to see their smiling faces once again and hear of their eagerness to get started for another day of activities. Gregory began the day with a little presentation on the history of stripes, all through small black and white drawings.  He started with an image from “a mural in Italy painted around 1340 of three young women in stripes condemned to prostitution saved by Saint Nicolas,” shifted to image of Holocaust uniforms, then images of stripes as portrayed in the media and pop culture, shared the Razzle Dazzle camouflage used on ships during World War I, then the use of stripe in architecture, in patterning and finally examples of stripes used by contemporary artists. He talked about these historic stripes’ association with the current use of stripes in our community and within the exhibition, having the students consider their use and meaning more deeply.

Gregory then challenged the students to reconsider the stripes on the wall of his space. If they had the opportunity, how would they make adjustments to his vision? Each student was then invited to select an ASU student collaborator and express their vision through a painting workshop orchestrated on the floor of the gallery space. The results were fantastic, and each team had the opportunity to share their insight, creating a great dialogue with each other and the space of the Museum.

A walk across campus for lunch together at ASU’s Secret Garden provided the opportunity for a communal meal and insight from Heather Landes, Associate Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and The Arts. Heather provided the students deeper knowledge of the opportunities available to them in the Arts and Design through ASU.   She talked about the application process and invited them all to join us as students at ASU upon the completion of their high school education.

After lunch our dynamo colleague, Elizabeth Johnson, Coordinator, Public Practice in the School of Dance, got the students moving. She worked with them collectively to get their bodies moving, first in basic movements then gradually building up to more choreographed series. The students broke off into groups and choreographed their own dances in relationship to the conversations of the day, then performed them for the other groups. We sat together and talked about the dances we had just observed and shared our overall impressions on the experiences. You could tell by the smiles and energy, it was extremely successful.

The students then loaded into their van and were shuttled off to the other side of campus to engage with School of Art Professor Angela Ellsworth’s intermedia performance art class. The student were greeted by the ASU students and given an overview of their studies. They talked about a current project they were developing and asked the high school students if they would assist. The project is titled “Cyborgs vs. Humans,” a parking lot tag style game that examines current culture and technologies. The rules for the activity were explained, and then everyone went to the parking lot for round one. The Cyborgs won round one in less than five minutes, then we all went back inside and debriefed. The information was gathered regarding successes and failure, differing options and possibilities. The game rules were adjusted and it was back to the parking lot for round two. Round two proved to be much more successful, a game lasting just over  10 minutes and exhausting everyone. At one point during the game, one of the high school students instructors turned to me and said, “It’s so good to see this kids get the opportunity to be kids,” and I would have to agree. It was good knowing that these students received a great day of activities and were probably going to get a great night’s sleep.

The students weren’t the only reconnection that happened on Monday. Mid-morning Erik, one of the original ALPHA program inmates who collaborated with Gregory to paint the stripes within the gallery, showed up at the Museum with his girlfriend, Lisa. Erik had been released, and it was so great to see him at the Museum in his own clothing. He toured Lisa through the space and shared the project and his experience with her, expressing the project’s intent as if he was leading a docent tour. He pointed out his contributions to the public wall as he reconnected with me, Gregory and Elizabeth Johnson, with whom he had performed a dance during his original visit. Before we knew it, Erik was down on one knee with a ring in his hand, proposing to Lisa, who immediately said YES!

Reconnecting is important, can be magical and is necessary at times in helping move forward in positive directions. I hope there are many more of these moments ahead!

-John Spiak, Curator

Click to view slideshow.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

As the mother of a 13-year-old girl, I am now learning, from the other side of the relationship, just how much adolescent girls both need and struggle against their mothers. The important part is keeping the vital lines of communication open, even if it’s just sitting in the car listening to the radio together as I drive her to school in the morning. I take being in the same space with my daughter for granted, the same way I took my mother’s presence for granted. But these are not givens.

Last Saturday, I witnessed the mother-daughter bond strung out over a distance that was both physical and emotional. The daughters – Chloe, a.k.a Coco (10), Alliyah (10) and Angel (20)– were here in the Museum; their mothers – Felicia, Neesha and Teresa respectively – were at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s Estrella Jail, where they are inmates.  

As part of Gregory Sale’s project “It’s not just black and white,” both mothers and daughters had been working with Teniqua Broughton, director of programs at Free Arts, and ASU’s Coordinator for Public Practice Elizabeth Johnson, as well as with Gregory, to develop dances that they would perform with and for each other via Skype, in what we were all calling “The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance.”

This idea – of mothers and daughters dancing together but apart – seems to strike a chord with everyone who hears about it. Somehow even the idea of the dance suggests the core issue that Gregory is exploring in his project: The real and too-little discussed impact of our incarceration system on all of us, as individuals and as a community.

It took a while to get the connection between the Museum and the jail working – technical difficulties were to be expected, since the point of jail is to isolate the inmates. When the connection finally succeeded and we could see the three women, standing in their baggy striped uniforms in a bare concrete jail yard, it was a relief: Although most of us watching didn’t know the women, they weren’t just anonymous inmates. They were the mothers of the three girls we’d been watching, in the gallery with us, as they waited patiently for their mothers to appear onscreen.

And the connection, when it was finally established, wasn’t perfect. It was like watching people on the moon – that same sense of delay and distance, of words and actions not synched with each other, of the unbridgeable gap between our world and theirs. Elizabeth became the interpreter on our end, and Gregory, who was at Estrella, seemed to take on the role of interpreter at the jail. Most of the small group of people in the gallery couldn’t hear exactly what the mothers were saying as they read their daughters the letters they’d written them, on subjects like change and beauty, but the daughters, huddled around the laptop that also showed their mothers’ images, drank their mothers’ words in and understood.

It was intensely clear how linked these women and their children were, regardless of whether they were able to communicate directly with each other, as if Skype was just the tool that laid bare that connection for the rest of us to grasp. We were the ones seeing the connection and the distance between the mothers and the daughters – the mothers and daughters were already well aware – and it was heartbreaking, all the more so when the screen suddenly went black and the words “Connection lost” appeared. It felt like losing something precious and knowing you might not find it again.

Once Gregory and Elizabeth managed to reestablish the connection, the mothers performed the dances they’d developed for their daughters, first individually, then together. The dances grew out of gestures the mothers had worked out in a workshop with Elizabeth that prompted them to think about the values they wanted to pass on to their daughters. Their movements were eloquent, powerful, real. They said so much with such economy, expressing in gestures the things they couldn’t say in words.

Then the daughters received gifts and notes from the mothers, and the mothers, on their end, received gifts and notes from their daughters. These notes weren’t shared in detail, which seemed appropriate. But it was clear that Angel, the oldest of the three girls, had a more difficult relationship with her mother than did the two younger girls. I learned later that unlike the younger girls, Angel had not grown up with her mother and had mixed feelings about participating initially. But in the letter she wrote to her mother, she said that she believed, for the first time in her life, that she and her mother were ready to live at peace with each other and to put the past behind them.

Finally, the mothers and daughters performed together, the same dance, the same moves, in their separate locations. They performed to an upbeat, up-tempo song with the refrain “You and me, baby, we’re stuck like glue.” Elizabeth explained later that the seed from which the dance grew was one main choreographed phrase, based on gestures that described the group’s collective definition of beauty.

When the performance had ended and the event was drawing to a close, MCSO Deputy Chief MaryEllen Sheppard, who has been instrumental in making Gregory’s project happen, addressed the three women in jail directly via the laptop. She thanked them for sharing their daughters with her and with the program, and told them what wonderful children they had. And she concluded by telling them precisely what all of us had just witnessed: “Where you are is not who you are. And we know that.”

 –Deborah Sussman

Click to view slideshow.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6


Richard Toon, Director, Museum Studies Program

On Tuesday, 15th March, a special event was held in the ASU Art Museum where Gregory Sale is staging his show, “It’s not just black and white.” It was a panel discussion, part of the international conference “Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change.” The aim of the conference was to “to advance understanding of the relationships among resilience, vulnerability, innovation and sustainability…. by bringing together scientists to share their work on the dynamics of interconnected social-ecological systems.”

The title for the Art Museum event was “Art’s Role in Resilience Science and other Innovations in Thinking.” Panelists included me, Richard Toon, Director of ASU’s Museum Studies Program; Gordon Knox, Director of ASU’s Art Museum; Adriene Jenik (by Skype), Director of the School of Art; and Sander Van Der Leeuw, one of the conference organizers, Dean of the School of Sustainability, and Director of the School for Human Evolution and Social Change. Gregory was our skillful moderator. One comment from the audience was that we shouldn’t use titles in introducing people. She had a point, but I thought readers might like to know (quickly) why these particular people were chosen to lead a discussion.

Gregory Sale, Artist-in-Residence

So, our topic was artists and scientist’s collaboration and Gregory’s topic is Arizona’s criminal justice system and contemporary practices of punishment and discipline. You might think they have little in common? But I think Gregory’s approach is similarly transdisiplinary, seeking to engage thinking where scientists, artists, those in humanities scholarship, and the interested public collaborate on experiments aimed at expanding our awareness of important social issues and help build new understandings. The whole idea of the panel was to specifically argue against the notion that art (and the humanities more generally) and science are two, discrete cultures. Rather, the methods of art making—involving speculation, imaginative projection, and experimentation that allows meanings to emerge—directly advance the practices of science. They help formulate research questions, suggest methodologies, explain findings, and integrate science with the aims of social engagement.  And Gregory’s experiment is all about social engagement.

Mathew Moore, Artist/Farmer

At least 50 people were there, but not as an audience to a panel of speakers, rather as a group of people, from all over the world, gathered around the table to discuss how artists and scientists can and do work together on topics of vital importance to health and well-being of our planet. Among those that spoke were conference attendees from Mongolia, South African, Sweden, and Chile. But local voices were included too, for example Mathew Moore, a local artist who’s work documents the transformation of his family’s farmland outside of Phoenix into suburban housing, using art, in the form of earthworks, video, and installation (http://www.urbanplough.com).

Scientist from Mongolia

The conversation was wide-ranging and difficult to summarize in a few words. It included discussion of artist/scientist collaborations, for example, on the sounds trees make, to which someone from Siberia asked, “What about consulting the shamans? They have been listening to tress for centuries.” It included the special contribution artists can make to conceptualizing alternative futures, something scientists have had difficulty doing.  It included discussion of whether our traditional understanding of the “two cultures” is still valid, given our post-modernist understandings of how knowledge is constructed.

Asks ” What about consulting the shamans? ”

There was also discussion of our planetary environmental crisis, which means that these issues belong to us all. The problems we ask science to tackle these days transcend not only individual scientific disciplines but also science itself. Take global warming as a particularly resonant example, touching as it does on how governments position themselves and all citizens think about their own and the planet’s future.  Scientists and nonscientists (policy makers, social activists, you) have to work in teams or it’s game over here as well as in other fields such as solving our energy future and ending endemic disease, war, and hunger.

Gordon Knox, Director, ASU Art Museum

It was important to hold this conversation in an art space, because art making is interested in escaping (even if it can’t) the bounds of what is already known and has been practiced. Art is looking at the nothing that is there, to borrow an image from Wallace Stevens or, hats off to Shakespeare, art is looking at “airy nothings” in the sense that imagination is real but isn’t a quantifiable thing. Yet we know it when we are in its presence.  Last week, as the conversation whirled around, I think we were in its presence.  Thank you, Gregory, for allowing it to whirl.

Richard Toon, Director of ASU’s Museum Studies Program

Quickly sharing a few of the activities that took place this past week in conjunction with It’s not just black and white: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6.

On March 15 there was a lively discussion on the topics of Art’s Role in Resilience Science and Other Innovations in Thinking with national figures, led by Gregory Sale, Gordon Knox, Sander van der Leeuw, Richard Toon, and Adriene Jenik (by Skype), in association with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

On Saturday, March 19, Gregory provided the second of four Tent City Jail tours led by officers of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.   Twenty community members joined the artist for, as the artist refers to it, (Re)SEARCH-based, first-hand experience.  Again, the questions were lively and the tour eye-opening.  The next tour is scheduled to take place Wednesday, April 6; you can sign up now to attend.

Tuesday evening, in collaboration with Arizona Justice Project,  Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Innocence Project Barry Scheck spoke to an intrigued audience of close to 100 people.   The insights and stories he shared were a mix of amazing, shocking and inspirational.

The coming month is jam-packed with scheduled activities associated with the project, and a few that are in the works, so we look forward to having you join us here for the engagement, dialogue and greater understanding of situations occurring in your own community.

Here is a little schedule to date.  You will note that some are open to the public while others are closed.  The closed to the public events are at the request of, and out of respect for, the participants:

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
4/9/11, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Films: Militarization of Justice
ASU Human Rights Film Festival features two films, Cointelpro 101 and The Response, and a panel discussion organized by ASU Professor Dr. Alan Eladio Gómez of the School of Social Transformation, Justice & Social Inquiry and Scott Henderson of the Tempe Chapter of Amnesty International.

4/13/11, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Incarceration and Prison- Hot Topics, Cool Heads
Using the technique of civil dialogue, ASU faculty from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication will facilitate a dialogue focused on topics related to incarceration. The Civil Dialogue project focuses on creating a safe space for divergent viewpoints, inviting students and the public to dialogue safely about issues which could be polarizing in an effort to promote understanding. This event will be facilitated by ASU ProfessorDr. Clark Olson and Lecturer Jennifer Linde, Hugh Downs School of Communication.

4/19/11, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Women and Social Change/Gina’s Team Discussion Panel
A planned panel discussion will likely include Sue Ellen Allen of Gina’s Team, Peggy Plews of Arizona Prison Watch and Donna Hamm of Middle Ground Prison Reform. The panelists will share their experiences within the criminal justice system and their ideas on reforming the prison and jail system. An open discussion for those who attend the event will follow. The program is organized by students enrolled in Women and Social Change, taught by ASU Professor Dr. Alesha Durfee. Lead student organizers include Danica O’Grady and Katelyn Johnston.

4/26/11, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Incarceration and the Mentally Ill: Punitive vs. Restorative Justice
A formal dialogue with approximately 20 participants discussing the care and treatment of those with mental illness as their lives intersect with the criminal justice system. The goal is to bring together individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences, from the advocates for increasing rehabilitation of mentally ill offenders to those who feel the criminal justice system in place in Arizona is working well. The event is organized and managed by Mary Lou Brnick of the non-profit organization David’s Hope.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC with advance registration (off-site)
4/06/11 and 4/23/11, 2:00pm-3:30pm
Tent City Jail Tours
Tour Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Tent City Jail.  Tours will be offered on Wednesday, April 6; Saturday, April 23; and Wednesday, May 4. All tours begin at 2:00 p.m.
Group size is limited to 20 adults. Tours are conducted by MCSO Jail staff.  Admission is free. Advance registration is required for Tent City tours.  For details see the project website at http://www.itsnotjustblackandwhite.info

CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
4/02/11, 12:00pm-5:00pm
Mother Daughter Distance Dance
The Mother Daughter Distance Dance is a dance workshop organized by Elizabeth Johnson, Teniqua Broughton and Gregory Sale as a component of the “It’s not just black and white” exhibition at the ASU Art Museum.  The workshop engages incarcerated women who are graduates of the rehabilitative arts outreach program “Journey Home” and their daughters, through an original collaborative choreography to help repair relationships and prepare moms for the transition home and to help families who have been apart know each other for who they are NOW.  The daughters perform at the museum exhibition space for and with their incarcerated mothers, who dance at Estrella Jail. The two sites are connected virtually through a live video feed.  Both the mothers and the daughters will take a series of dance classes prior to the virtually-connected dance workshop.

4/12/11, 1:30pm-4:00pm
Adult Probation Division Meeting
(Organized by Julie Chavez)
A meeting with the Adult Probations  unit.  This divisions of supervisors  interviews people in the jails and supervises  inmates while they are allowed on leave  for work in the community and   on probation while still serving time, participating in programs such as ALPHA and additional  reentry efforts.

4/18/11,  9:00am-12:00pm
Pretrial Services/Adult Probation Meeting
(Organized by Penny Stinson)
A meeting of various directors from the Maricopa County Superior Court Pretrial Services and Adult Probation Units as well as a training session.

4/26/11, 8:15am-11:00am
Adult Prob Exec Mgmt Meeting
(Organized by Therese Wagner)
The Maricopa County Adult Probation Executive Management Team will be holding their monthly meeting in the space.

4/27/11, 2:00pm-4:00pm
Adult Probation Division Meeting
(Organized by Anna King)
Unit meeting of adult probation officers who supervise clients with a variety of offenses.

- John Spiak, Curator

It’s not just black and white is supported a grant from
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Click to view slideshow.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

As we await our inmate collaborators’ graduation from the ALPHA program, their release from jail and for them to rejoin us in the exhibition space as members of the outside community, the projects and conversation of It’s not just black and white continue to build.

Last week Gregory hosted the students of the Women & Social Change class of Assistant Professor Durfee of Women & Gender Studies at ASU. The students are in the beginning process of organizing a social action on the ASU campus to raise awareness of the untimely death of prison inmate Marcia Powell. Powell, 48, died May 20, 2009, after being kept in an outdoor human cage in Goodyear’s Perryville Prison for at least four hours in the Arizona sun with temperatures in the 107 degree Fahrenheit range.

As a social practice and performance artist, Gregory has much experience with public action. He listened to the student’s ideas and provided insights into possibilities of making the action more impactful. The students were engaged and passionate, and we are excited to see their event in action. We will definitely share dates and times for their action when they have been confirmed.

On Thursday Gregory and I met with Alan Gómez, Borderlands Scholar and Assistant Professor of the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, and Scott Henderson of theTempe Chapter of Amnesty International. Together, Allan and Scott are developing one day of programming for the 3-day First Annual Human Rights Film Festival at ASU.  On Saturday, April 9, the ASU Art Museum will host the afternoon program PRISONERS’ RIGHTS, MILITARIZATION OF JUSTICE. The afternoon will present three short films: Cointelpro 101, The Response and a new video based on It’s not just black and white by Gregory Sale. The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion on the program topic led by key figures of the community.  I have posted the complete festival screening program below; the panels are still being confirmed, and we’ll share that as well once it is available.

On Friday, GINA’s Team hosted a volunteer informational gathering for the Welcome Home project. The Welcome Home project is a volunteer mentoring organization that welcome’s home female inmates upon release. The program included an amazing introduction and insight from Sue Ellen Allen, a former inmate of Perryville prison and co-founder of GINA’s Team. She shared the story of Gina, a 25-year-old mother who befriended her at Perryville and who died of leukemia while serving time. She introduced Gregory by stating the importance of his project in creating greater community awareness and dialogue, and Gregory shared his project with the audience. Sue Ellen went on to introduce Gina’s mom; Karen Hellman, ATS Program Manager, Counseling & Treatment Services of the Arizona Department of Corrections; Jan Weathers, Re-Entry coordinator, Counseling & Treatment Services of the ADOC; and Marianne Petrilloa, a GINA’s Team board member. They all spoke with grace from multiple perspectives, providing additional insights into the complex topics of the current state of corrections in Arizona.

Lastly, the key note speaker was introduced, member of the Arizona State House of Representatives Cecil Ash (R.Mesa). Rep. Ash shared stories of his years in a position at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. He presented example after example of cases where he felt the mandatory sentencing (for those not from AZ, mandatory sentencing laws in this State leave very little, if any, flexibility for a judge hearing the case – sentences must also be served consecutively) was beyond extreme. He talked about his efforts to get sentencing reform bills heard on the house floor and the lack of support for such bills at this current time. It was clear that Rep. Ash is passionate, has clear vision and insight, and most of all has complete integrity when it comes to these issues, yet still confesses that he is constantly attacked by those who stick to the “tough on crime” mentality often used as a defense for not even considering possibilities of change to the current system.

It was once again an eye-opening week at the ASU Art Museum, and much more is on the way, like tomorrow’s (3/15) discussion Art’s Role in Resilience Science and Other Innovations in Thinking from 2 – 3:30pm. 

And there’s still time to sign-up for this Saturday’s (3/19) tour of Tent City Jail at 2 p.m.

We hope you’ll join us!

- John Spiak, Curator

It’s not just black and white is supported a grant from
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

First Annual Human Rights Film Festival at ASU 
Free and open to the public; each grouping of films will be followed by panel discussions.

Friday 4/8
5-8 pm — ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The Economics of Happiness

Saturday 4/9
12-3 pm — PRISONERS’ RIGHTS, MILITARIZATION OF JUSTICE
ASU Museum of Art, in conjunction with Gregory Sale’s art exhibition “It’s not just black and white”
Cointelpro 101, The Response
5-8 pm — IMMIGRANT RIGHTS
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
FILM SHORTS: Dream Act Students, Arizona Women & Children Rise: Resisting SB1070, Testimonies of Resistance from Apartheid Arizona, Exiled in America

Sunday 4/10
12-3 pm — TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Long Night’s Journey Into Day: South Africa’s Search for Truth & Reconciliation
5-8 pm — INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The Snowbowl Effect

Co-sponsored by Human Rights at ASU, the School of Social Transformation, Justice and Social Inquiry, and the Barrett Honors College.

Visit humanrights.asu.edu as the festival date approaches, for updated times, locations and final film and panel selections.

Click to view slideshow.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

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