by Mary Ellms
Ticonic Gallery and Railroad Square Cinema will participate in the Freedom & Captivity Project, a statewide, coalition-based public humanities project designed to consider a future without prisons and mass incarceration. The initiative runs from September through December 2021 and features over 50 participating organizations and institutions.
The project, which will include art exhibitions, workshops, webinars, a podcast series, and public education materials, is conceived with the participation of people in Maine directly impacted by incarceration. Freedom & Captivity re-examines the use of prisons and jails to manage social problems and asks how we might imagine approaching safety, security, and justice differently.
Ticonic Gallery will host the art exhibition “Art Inside” that will feature the work of Maine-based photographers Trent Bell, Séan Alonzo Harris, and Lesley MacVane. The photographs of “Art Inside” depict artwork within the walls of the Maine State Prison, Mountain View Correctional Facility, and Southern Maine Women’s Correctional Center facilities. The artwork, all created by incarcerated people, offers a humanizing portrait of their makers, and the works have served as a creative outlet for members of the prison population. The exhibit will be available to the public during Ticonic Gallery’s new hours: Monday through Friday, noon – 5 p.m.
In related programming, Waterville Creates will distribute art kits to support children with incarcerated parents. These kits will be available in visiting room areas and will incorporate themes, images, and words to describe the types of experiences they seek for their collective future.
“What we are seeing as participants in this project are the many ways in which image-making is a restorative, healthy means of expression that can help children and adults navigate the complexities of incarceration on the family dynamic. Art is powerful, it’s transformative, and it can make a difference,” says Patricia King, vice president of Waterville Creates.
Maine Film Center’s “Cinema in Conversation” series resumes in-person this fall at Railroad Square Cinema with a lineup of free screenings and discussions with filmmakers, film experts, and advocates on the themes of freedom, captivity, and human rights. Showtimes and event details are available at MaineFilmCenter.org. The Railroad Square Cinema lobby will also host the multidisciplinary exhibition “Stories of Incarceration: Portraits from the Penobscot County Jail Storytelling Project” from September 13 to October 18.
A full calendar of Freedom & Captivity events is available on the Freedom & Captivity website at freedomandcaptivity.org.
More information on participation by Waterville Creates can be found at watervillecreates.org/shows/art-inside/.
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