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Teaching Artist Spotlight: Kirk Charlton
When Kirk Charlton was five years old, he gave his grandmother a drawing of a horse getting stung by a bee. “She could have said a lot of things like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s cool.’ Or, you know, ‘That’s great. Appreciate it.’ But when I gave it to her eyes got really big,” Kirk says. “And she said, ‘This is incredible. This is unbelievable. I’m gonna hang it on the refrigerator, and I want you to draw me something else.’
Teaching Artist Spotlight: Rachel Wallis
Recently, JAC had the chance to speak with organizer, crafter, curator and community taught textile artist, Rachel Wallis. In her own words, Rachel writes: “I believe that traditional textile techniques, particularly quilting, can provide a fertile platform for creating dialog and understanding around complex ideas and issues.” From the Abolitionist Movement, to the Civil Rights Movement and AIDS activism, quilting has been a revolutionary medium for most of its history.
Artist Spotlight: Angelica Marie Soto
Angelica Marie Soto has always been an artist. Growing up the youngest of five siblings, Angelica’s family made sure her artistic talents never went unnoticed or discouraged. “When my mother would leave me with my nanny Licha she would put me and my nephew in a desk and have drawing contests and I would win and that’s how we found out I could paint/draw,” Angelica writes. “I grew up spoiled and talented.” From then on, art continued to be a source of empowerment...
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We believe Black lives matter. We believe that racism and white supremacy must be dismantled and rooted out, and that we must build a new and better world. We believe in the power of art and creation to help us imagine that world, and the power of community and solidarity to help get us there. Most importantly, we commit to acting upon these values in everything we do.
We at the Justice Arts Coalition acknowledge that we are based on the traditional lands of the Nacotchtank and Piscataway peoples (Piscataway Indian Nation, the Piscataway-Conoy Confederacy, and the Cedarville Band of Piscataway), both past and present. They have stewarded the land through generations. Land holds cultural, historical, and traditional meaning, and we hope this acknowledgment is not the end of our conversation but rather a starting point to reduce intentional erasure and engage in more conversation about decolonizing land relations. Our commitment to liberation and prison abolition is deeply intertwined with decolonization and indigenization. For settlers: as you navigate this virtual space, we invite you to think critically about how your resistance to carceral punishment intertwines with Indigenous rights in the spaces you occupy.