As a socially engaged artist, I create and coordinate large-scale and often long-term public projects, collaborating with individuals and communities on aesthetic responses to social challenges. Participants and institutions become creative co-producers focused on collective artistic experiences that identify, address, and transform lives. Specifically, my work engages issues of mass incarceration, illuminating the complexities of justice, democracy, and how we practice care as a society.
I am currently facilitating a Future IDs Art & Justice Leadership Cohort (2020 to the present) to support members in honing their leadership skills and their working understanding of the power of artistic production. In recent years, I have undertaken a series of projects focused on reframing the narrative of reentry after incarceration, including Future IDs at Alcatraz (2018-19), a yearlong, socially engaged project, exhibition and series of community programs with core-project collaborators Dr. Luis Garcia, Kirn Kim, Sabrina Reid, and Jessica Tully, and in partnership with National Park Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and 20 community organizations. Rap Sheet to Resume (2015-16) unfolded as a workshop series and social practice project for the Urban Justice Center in New York, NY.
I embrace compassion, open dialogue and mutual learning as social-political strategies. My practice is rooted in these values, with the consistent aim to revise modes of understanding in order to restructure social, political, and institutional relationships. I have collaborated with men sentenced as juveniles to life without parole (Life is Life, 2011-12) at Graterford State Prison in Pennsylvania and others on death row (Love for Love, 2013-14) at Riverbend Maximum Security in Tennessee. An artistic process that these men and I developed together became the organizing focus of subsequent iterations at the i.d.e.a. Museum (2014) in Mesa, AZ, Ronald Feldman Gallery (2015) in New York, NY, and Tempe Center for the Arts (2018) in Tempe, AZ.
An ally in the social justice movement, I invite project participants to help conceptualize social-aesthetic structures, to co-produce artistic components, and to direct the advocacy intention of the work. In It’s not just black and white (2011) at ASU Art Museum, 14 men currently in jail and I wrestled with the visual motifs and clichés of crime (striped uniform, pink underwear, and even brown skin). Through relationships I developed with stakeholders spanning political positions from the far left–Angela Davis– to the far right–Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the project brought together often opposed constituencies of the criminal justice system in dialogue and creative process.
My work has received support from Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Open Spaces Program, Creative Capital Foundation in Emerging Fields, A Blade of Grass/David Rockefeller Fund Fellowship in Criminal Justice, Art Matters, SPArt (Social Practice Art), the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and prestigious artist residency awards (Montalvo Arts Center, Yaddo, MacDowell, Headlands, Ucross, Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre, and the Bunny House).
Based in Phoenix and in Los Angeles, I serve as Associate Professor of Intermedia and Public Practice, School of Art, Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.