Art Behind Bars at the Southern California Library
On April 21st we held a reception for the opening of Art Releases latest show of art from the SHU at Pelican Bay. It was hosted by the Southern California Public Library on Vermont and 61st in Los Angeles. The Library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the educational and cultural needs of their community. It is a hardworking, committed organization and we thank them for hosting our show. visit them at socallib.org.

Our show came at the end of a day of workshops for highschoolers, followed by a film made by an ex-addict and ex-offender who has fought some harsh life battles to become an outstanding woman and film artist.

Margie Ghiz opened the program with a short talk on the international recognition which the conditions at Pelican is receiving, and the comparison being made by at least one international journalist to the conditions at Pelican Bay and other US prisons, and Guantanamo , Abu Ghraib, US-run Afghan and others. She then “introduced” each artist and let them “speak” for themselves. The best pert of the program was the reading by Arlene Gonzales, of “One Day in the Life” by artist Gabriel Reyes (Arlene’s fiancé), and amazing account of one day (of thousands) of deprivation, isolation and physical discomfort and pain of each man in the super max SHU at Pelican Bay.

The whole day at the Library was a testament to men and women’s refusal to accept the daily denial of their rights and needs.

Artist families came from San Diego, Lancaster and LA as well as students, artists and community members. We were very fortunate to have about 40 members of the local chapter of Public Allies (publicallies.org), a group of young adults committing time and talent to our neediest -- and most important -- communities.

We brought food, and informational material, catalogs of the art and ourselves...but forgot a camera! What follows is are pictures of the art taken days later.