Under the Bridge Bookstore and Gallery
1358 West 6th St
San Pedro, California 90731

On Saturday, June 9, we had our opening reception for our latest “Art Behind Bars” show at Under the Bridge Bookstore and Gallery in San Pedro.

It was a major success in many ways, due to our hosts, Charlotte and Rachel from UTB, the wonderful work of the artists, the great books and words of our passionate and well-informed speakers/authors -- Laura Frisbee and Luis Rodriguez, and the amazing people who came: ex-inmate artists, teachers, writers, young students, artists, gallery owners, journalists, families of the artists in the show and people from church and prison support groups.

The Pelican Bay SHU artists’ works and words, as always, inspired much discussion about a broken prison system and the refusal of most of our politicians to fix it. There was also much talk of the future...what can be done and who (those of us who have a real stake in our future) will have to lead the way.

Besides the works of Luis Rodriguez, including the best seller “Always Running”, we also featured Laura Frisbee’s book, “A Family Guide to Visiting California State Prisons”, which is far more than a guide and invaluable to anyone visiting or interested in the criminal justice system. Books also featured were “Without Fear”, one of the BEST series of essays on Los Angeles and the prison/military complex from a very local and global perspective edited and published by the Southern California Library, and “Urban Politics” by Rodrigo Garcia Bernal on the political culture of gangs, based mainly in Los Angeles.

The worst irony is that the “stars” of the show, who best articulate the problems and speak so urgently for the future, were 700 miles away, sitting in 6’ x 9’ cells in complete isolation, unable to see or hear how much they have accomplished, how much value their lives truly have.

Margie Ghiz
Art Release