America loves college football, blue jeans, fast food and unfortunately, it also seems to love locking up its citizens. Perhaps love is too strong a word, but America’s global leading, prison incarceration rate and its prison industrial complex, show that if not love, there’s definitely a lust for locking up people in the United States.
The soul-crushing effects of incarceration in the U.S. can be debilitating, which birthed the idea of The Confined Arts, a visual and performance art exhibition for current and previously incarcerated men and women. The Confined Arts brought 2014 to a close with an exhibition that fostered a platform of agency for artists across the nation who are currently and previously incarcerated as well as those committed to the fight to end mass incarceration
Created by Isaac Scott, the Confined Arts provides humanity within the dehumanizing nature of incarceration, not allowing the mental and physical bars of the system to hold in the voice, ideas, perspectives and talents of a range of incredible artists.
As they gear up for the 2nd Confined Arts Exhibition, which will open with a reception on Friday, March 28th, from 7pm-11pm, at Shwick Market, 6 Charles Place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I asked Isaac Scott some questions about The Confined Arts
1. How was the idea of confined arts conceived?
I was meeting with a good friend of mine (Fury Young) and I expressed to him that I wanted to have an art show in order to sell Isaac’s Quarterly’s Christmas card. My friend mentioned that he had recently received a good amount of art work from inside the prison system. That detail along with my background and collection of artwork fueled the idea of a platform for currently and formerly incarcerated artist to show their work. We have also opened the platform for those artist who work in and around the prison system. And also to those who have be affected by mass incarceration.
2. Was it started in NYC?
Yes. The Upper West Side of Manhattan.
3. How do artist find Confined Arts you, and how does Confined Arts find artists?
We are working with a number of re-entry agencies and self-promoting more in order to make opportunities more known to this. We find our artist through word of mouth and connections.
What will/does Confined Arts do with the proceeds from art sales of artists that are still incarcerated?
TCA will retain only 30% of the sales of all art work. The remaining 70% goes directly to the Artist whether he is in prison or not.
Is your background with the prison system, or have you ever been incarcerated?
Yes, in November of 2013 I was released from prison after serving 7 years and 8 months out of a 9 year sentence.
What’s the price range of artwork at the exhibition?
There will be art present for every wallet. There will be prints for sale as low as $25 and other fine art topping out at $10,000. And plenty of work in between.
Are you an artist yourself?
Yes I am a multimedia artist.
What’s ahead for The Confined Arts?
Our plan for this program is to enter the prisons and take our work to the next level.
Sounds like a creative way to combat the ill-effects of this countries mass incarceration problem. If you would like to attend the opening reception this Friday, which will feature visual art, live poetry, wine and light snacks, please visit their Event Brite page for free tickets.