The artist Gregory Sale works with inmates of Maricopa County

Arizona State University Art Museum, US

John D. Spiak, 15.04.2013
It’s Not Just Black and White was a residency and exhibition by the artist Gregory Sale at Arizona State University Art Museum to give a voice to people involved with corrections, incarceration and the criminal justice systems.

The museum operated as a site for developing and displaying visual and mediated exhibitions, dance, staged events, screenings, discussions, readings and performances.

The aim of the project was to explore and expose the conflicting viewpoints, perspectives and values that generate from considerations of justice and public safety.

The programme involved community engagement and dialogue, with representatives from all sides gathering and working in the space with the artist, curator, students and community members.

Through collaborations with university and community partners, the museum brought major figures engaged in local, national and international discourse of the topics, including the activist and author Angela Davis and Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The residency/exhibition was divided into three major strands:

1. Pearls
A series of collaborative artistic actions and workshops at the museum and prison that engaged with incarcerated adults and youths.  

2. (re)SEARCH
Participants were able to explore the impact of modern criminal justice through direct experience of fact-based tours and forums.   

3. Open Bookings
A shared space for public programming in the museum. Individuals and organisations with a sustained interest in civil justice and contemporary practices of law and order shared flexible space for classes, performances and discourse.

In total, 52 programmes and activities took place over the three-month project. Full details can be found online on the itsnotjustblackandwhite.info

John D. Spiak is the former curator at Arizona State University Art Museum and the current director and chief curator of Grand Central Art Center, in Santa Ana, California.

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