It's now more important than ever to ensure diversity in and access to the visual arts.
- access to arts education
- professional development for artists
- bringing national attention to Chicago's artists
The Weight of Rage is the third annual exhibition of work developed in classes in the Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project at Stateville Prison. The show brings together work from incarcerated artists and teaching artists and writers in the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) at Stateville Correctional Center (Joliet, IL) to explore the question, “how does the state identify you?” For many inmates the only image they have of themselves is their state identification card. Through portraiture and figurative abstraction, the art, writing, video, and audio work presented in this exhibition address the distinct experiences of the artists, as well as the terms of connection and alienation in a prison nation at large.
“Prisons segregate us, disconnecting incarcerated people from families, communities, and public discourse,” explains stated Sarah Ross, lead PNAP artist organizing the exhibition. “We are, each of us, affected by the logic of punishment and criminalization, and it produces us as particular kinds of subjects, whether locked up or free.”
Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) is a collective of artists, writers and scholars who offer arts and humanities classes at Stateville prison. Each year, scholarly and creative work is developed in classes at the prison and exhibited in Chicago neighborhoods. Stateville, just 50 miles from Chicago, holds more than 3,400 people. Displaced from their communities, the majority of incarcerated people in the state are Chicago residents. Thus, the exhibition serves as a connective tissue to home. PNAP understands that access to education and art are fundamental human rights capable of transforming people, systems, and futures.