by Megan Daly
Founded in 2008 as the volunteer-led Prison Arts Coalition, the Justice Arts Coalition is developing as a US-based non-profit organisation working to provide information about people making art in and around the justice system. Built upon the belief that creative expression is a reconciling, community-building act, and can improve self-worth and increase empathy, this project aims to open up dialogue around the intersection of arts and justice.
On their site, their numerous galleries showcase incarcerated or formerly incarcerated artists, and artists making work around the criminal justice system.
Running from May to June of 2019, JAC hosted their first exhibition and launch event, Becoming Free, in DC. Alongside a display of selected artists, the event included live music, a short film screening, and a reading of poetry from poets in a local prison.
For this issue, we have permission to publish the artworks Sphere, Small Cell, and Toilet Paper by Leon Martinez, Untitled by Lesley Rae Burdick, Charcoal Drawing by Nathan Riggs, Tehachapi State Prison by Manuel Gonzalez and Seeing the Sun by Henry Haroe.