Justice Arts Coalition Blog

Journey to Self

by: Peggy Lamb, Exploring Creativity Coordinator for Truth Be Told Rca, Krystal, Brandi, Kathy, Linda and Nancy. Six women in the white garb of inmates and I sit in a circle in the spacious chapel at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville, TX. They are in the Female Sex Offender Treatment Program. We are here to …

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Prison’s noose of absolute truth

By Treacy Ziegler We seek truth in many things and demand absolute truth when someone has done wrong. “Who did it?” is the first question asked after a crime, followed by “how” and “why;” the primary questions determining identity, causality, and motive of a crime Identification is a strange thing. It is a paradox of revelation …

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In the company of a door, a bed, and a toilet

By: Treacy Ziegler Arthur Tyler, “Door of death row,”  monotype, courtesy of the artist Volunteering in prison as an art teacher is hard, and I often ask myself why continue? Often I get the answer from the prison students.  A couple of years ago, a new student joined my class in a closed-security prison. During class, …

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Lighthouses, guard towers, and the collapsing spatial planes of prison

By Treacy Ziegler Lawrence Smith, prisoner, drawing of Tehachapi prison, California, courtesy of artist A few years ago, my friend suggested a particular meadow I might want to draw. This friend, who is not actually an artist but with whom I draw on a regular basis, often suggests things to draw. No, I said, the …

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Falling Leaves: Letters from Prison

By Treacy Ziegler Armando Macias, prisoner at San Quentin, drawing from The Circle exhibition Falling leaves Letters from prison “But now you’ve got the gist  of what my letters mean. You’re reading them again The ones you didn’t burn” Leonard Cohen, “The letters”   The letters seem to accumulate indiscriminately on the furniture surfaces of …

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The Art of Absolute Loneliness

By Treacy Ziegler http://fromanopendoor.com/home/ Bill Sell’s self- portrait It was in June, 2013, that Billy Sell hung himself.  I assume a guard discovered him because he had been living in solitary confinement for the past six years. Billy had been in prison for 16 years.  He was 32 years old at his death.  Found hanging in his …

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The Restorative Word

By Matt Malyon Ted, a local youth, was booked in Juvenile Detention on July 8, 2015, the day of our first ever Underground Writing workshop. In November, Ted and I began to meet regularly on Mondays for an hour. Inside a locked 8 x 6 room, with security cameras and heavy doors, Ted began to …

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The Roots of Die Jim Crow

Pulled from the Introduction to Die Jim Crow EP Book, available at diejimcrow.com and Amazon.com. by Fury Young It’s been three years since a notebook jot-down outlining the idea for what would become the concept album project Die Jim Crow. I was on the B train to Kingsborough Community College where I was studying history. There …

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