Amid growing calls for a reimagining of what justice means and looks like in the U.S., the role of artists—particularly those with lived experience of incarceration—is becoming increasingly essential in exposing the violence inherent to the carceral state. They are shifting the narratives that fuel biases and stereotypes about those impacted, and are unearthing new, more life-serving ways of addressing conflict and harm. Committed to this visionary and transformative work, the Justice Arts Coalition (JAC) is a national organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland, that unites systems-impacted artists and their allies to harness the transformative power of the arts to reimagine justice. On May 1, JAC will open Degrees of Separation at Baltimore County Arts Guild, showcasing the work of incarcerated artists throughout the nation.
Featuring over 40 works, Degrees of Separation, explores the relationship that proximity and spatial relation have with an individual’s ability to understand, experience, and engage. Just as physical distance changes one’s perspective regarding a piece of artwork, so is one’s understanding of the carceral system shaped by their proximity to a person impacted by the system.
This exhibition will be in partnership with the Baltimore Arts Guild, an organization dedicated to fostering all aspects of the arts through highlighting the work of established and emerging artists, expanding access to the arts by bringing major artists and performers to their communities, and incorporating diverse ideas and perspectives into their arts education opportunities designed for all ages. Utilizing the gallery’s unique space, the exhibit challenges viewers’ engagement with the art. JAC hopes that this exhibition will challenge viewers to examine their own understanding of incarceration.
Degrees of Separation will open May 1 and run through May 22. A reception will be held on May 15 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM EST. A virtual gallery of the works featured in the exhibition will be available on JAC’s website to accompany the launch of the physical exhibition.
For more information, visit www.thejusticeartscoalition.org.