Re-Entry: An Evening Beyond Black and White, 2012

The event at the Phoenix Art Museum began with the screening of a slow-motion digital film that documented the painting of striped gallery walls with 14 incarcerated men who were enrolled in a reentry/ rehabilitation program offered by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.  During the screening, 40 men and women from the re-entry community participated in the program as honored guests. As a performance, these individuals helped stage a series of interruptions to disrupt the movie-viewing experience. As a second half of the program, a dialogue ensued between these honored guests and the other audience members. For a brief period of time, the boundaries that so often separate us seemed to soften, opening a space for individuals in the re-entry community to be genuinely seen and heard.

The event brought together a broad range of museum patrons, along with individuals with conviction histories, some of their family members, probation officers, criminal justice workers, faith-based service providers and social justice enthusiasts. It featured the participation of Joshua Adams, Sue Ellen Allen, Frantz Beasley, Nick Fletcher, Bryon Frank, Colleen Johnson, Debra Keough, Gabriel Mesa, William Eric Paskell, Joseph Sentrock Perez, Gina’s Team, AZ Common Ground and the Phoenix Art Museum Docents. The video footage was filmed by and edited with Jason Dillon. The program was curated by Sara Cochran (Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Phoenix Art Museum) and was part of the Phoenix Art Museum Contemporary Forum 2012 Summer Film Series with support from Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ and the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ. It was developed with the support of an artist residencies at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY and MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH.