IN RICHMOND, VA, INCARCERATED TEENS ARE WORKING WITH ARTISTS AND LAWYERS FROM LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER TO REIMAGINE THE JUVENILE
JUSTICE SYSTEM. KEEP POSTED FOR UPDATES, EXHIBITS, AND EVENTS!
TEEN VIDEO PSAs
Working with amazing filmmakers from across the city, teens in the program produce a series of powerful mini-movies in response to the quetstion: "What can keep kids free?"
See all of the films HERE
Films co-produced by the following filmmakers:OK Keyes, Ben Surber, Elizabeth Williams, and Craig Zirpolo
Music By The Passion HiFi
Thank you to Gallery 5 for location support and Terry Brown for lending equipment.
JUSTICE PARADE FOR INCARCERATED YOUTH
We designed the parade to function as a mobile, people-powered art exhibit featuring hundreds of pieces of art made by incarcerated youth: parade participants wore shirts and held posters silk screened by the teens, carried huge photo banners of the teen’s portraits, and worked with musicians to perform protest chants that the teens wrote. The parade began with a rally at the General Assembly Building, where we lit up our “PRISONS DON’T WORK” LED light banner, and marched the teen’s artwork down Richmond’s main st, blocking traffic during the height of rush hour.
SIGNS OF PROTEST
We asked teens in our program, what do youth need to stay out of the criminal justice system. They wrote slogans about those ideas and came up with hand gestures that symbolized their slogans. Copies of the images are found in the project newspaper. Print these and put them up in your school, work place, community center, or city streets!
POLICE TRAINING MANUALS
This summer we worked the teens to produce a series of police training manuals. We believe the youth have knowledge and expertise that those in power can learn from. The manuals and the teen's exhibition have been used to train every police recruit in Richmond, VA and will be used to train officers across the city.
Led by artists Kate DeCiccio, the teens created a series of portraits and protest slogans to demand the world they and their communities need to be free. They then used spray paint and stencils to create the powerful patterns.
These protest signs became the front line of Performing Statistics’ annual Juvenile Justice Parade and have been brought to budget hearings, press conferences, and public actions They will then travel across Virginia to support reform efforts.
Step into My Cell
A virtual reality experience
Over the course of three weeks, filmmakers from Brooklyn-based virtual reality production company Scenic worked with teens in the program to produce their own VR experience.
Teens began the project by visiting the VCU School of Engineering Department of Computer Science Virtual Reality Lab to see and experience innovative ways that technology can amplify stories and create immersive experiences.
The teens then storyboarded scenes from their lives they wanted people to see, which were then filmed by using a green screen. These actions were digitally added to footage filmed at a youth prison. With a powerful narration by the teens, and animation that transforms the jail cell, the experience will transport viewers in immersive and challenging ways.
Throughout the year the virtual reality experience will be shared in a mobile exhibit across the state to spark dialogue and action and used as a powerful tool to train the Richmond Police Department’s recruits and officers about the school-to-prison-pipeline, youth development, and trauma-informed approaches to working with communities.
More information on Scenic can be found at www.watchscenic.com
TEEN RADIO PSA'S
Working with artists Mikemetic Kemetic, Roscoe Burnems, Catherine Komp and others, the teens throughout the program have made their own radio PSAs about their lives and what they would do to make our society more just and whole.
These audio pieces have been played on radio stations, over the microphone at state budget hearings, and heard by thousands of people through our mobile art exhibition.
Art historian and lead builder for the project, Dennis Williams came out and talked to the teens about how self-representation has been used to combat and destroy cultural stereotypes (and how the teen's amazing work was continuing that legacy!)...then the teens wrote statements about their prison cell that they want people to know. They then wood burned their text into wood planks that will make up the floor of jail cell that will be at the center of the traveling exhibition!! More to come!
This summer in Richmond, a group of incarcerated youth were able to leave their prison and come, 3 days a week for 8 weeks to work with artists, and legal experts at Art 180 to re-imagine the juvenile justice system.
Part of that project was working with the youth to create their own protest chants. Now we need musicians (LIKE YOU ALL!) to help us take their songs to the streets!! Check out our upcoming events to find ways to help perform their chants across VA!
The teens in the program got to work with the amazing photographer Terry Brown to help them transform their self portrait sketches into incredibly powerful photographs. She worked with them to use light, shadow and obstruction to create the images without revealing their identity (detention facility rules). These images have been blown up to 7 x 10 ft vinyl banners and displayed across Virginia as a tool to spark dialogue, build empathy, and support social justice campaigns.
Throughout the summer, teens in the program created a series of portraits that visualize things they want to SEE, SCREAM, and HEAR in our city. In partnership with artists at Studio Two Three, the teens transformed their images and text into powerful silkscreen designs. Hundreds of T-shirts, posters, and postcards were printed to be used, worn, and given out during the annual Juvenile Justice Parade.
In previous years...the teens have worked with artist Molly Fair to use their drawings, cut outs, sourced imagery, and text they've written to each create their own advocacy designs for posters. We'll be working with the amazing folks at Studio 23 to create the prints. The teens will then be coming up with 20 people or places in VA that they want their poster to go to, we'll then work to get their work to all of those locations. The prints will be used as protest posters during our opening celebratory march from the VA general assembly to Art 180.
JAIL CELL GALLERY
The centerpiece of that exhibit is a to-scale model of a prison cell made from plexiglass and steel. The teens handwritten messages were digitized and laser-etched into the walls. The laser etching was made possible through a partnership with Richmond's Big Secret.