Incarcerated people find healing through art

By Lt. Karla Graves

Frieze Projects curators Rita Gonzalez and Pilar Tompkins Rivas visited the art studio at California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC), where they met with the incarcerated artists and worked with the members of the studio to select work that represented their stories and experience.

Part of the curated program on the back-lot of Paramount Studios,  Frieze Los Angeles was presented by the Endeavor Foundation. Out of Bounds features work by artists in custody at LAC. The Out of Bounds art collection could not have been possible without assistance from the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), an organization empowering formerly and currently incarcerated people to thrive by providing a support network, comprehensive services, and opportunities to advocate for policy change.

“The way the system is defined, we are basically useless. We have no power. But when I’m doing a piece of art, I have all the power,” said incarcerated artist Duncan Martinez. “I don’t think I’m less because I’m in prison. I just happen to be in prison. I’m still a human being.”

“The philosophy of Healing Through Art is about giving back to the community. This iteration of it started in 2009. It’s community based. We partner up with organizations that do good work in the community,” said an incarcerated artist who goes by Post Fiction. The group donates artwork to organizations putting on fundraisers. The community groups keep all of the proceeds from the sale.