Some background: The CRCI Art Workshop is a 12-week collaborative project in which participants will design, create and install a site-specific artwork inside of Columbia River Correction Institution (CRCI), a minimum security men’s facility in North Portland. We’re designing, creating and installing a series of flags – imagine the flags flying above used car lots, flags marking the end of the swimming pool, or Tibetan prayer flags, floating on the wind – and we will hang them throughout the interior and exterior space of CRCI. All participants will also mail flags to people of their choosing on the outside.
We have just started screenprinting. Here’s a pile of the first batch of flags:
A few of the participants took some time to write thoughts on what it is like to be in our art workshop. Here are their reflections:
Punished for telling the truth and for feeling guilty; the act was punishment enough; I know I’m not a bad person, so does everyone who takes the time to get to know me; it is really hard for me to talk to people, I get really nervous. I start to shake and sweat and my words and thoughts never come out, my opportunity is lost. My drawing and stories I write are subliminal but mean so much, they are glimpses of who I am. Enjoy. (Balue)
This workshop is doing a lot for me, it’s hard to narrow it down enough for me to put into words. I have been taken out of the world. To my friends, family, and neighbors I simply disappeared but this is allowing me to create something, something for my alter-universe I am in now, but also for the universe I once belonged to. I can’t explain how I feel about that, it now seems like I have a place back in the universe I was ripped from. (Dakotah)
This program has helped me branch out of my one-trick pony style. I’m starting to realize my art can carry a message. (Steve)
Life is not counted by the breaths you take but by the times your left breathless. (Nik)
Prison – a dismal experience at best. One day a week I experience a brilliant ray of sunshine. I call it “My art in prison” time. It is my time to smile, have fun, be free. This is not your typical art experience. You don’t have to be an amazing artist to feel at home in this class. We use a lot of modalities and each class is very experiential. We have done etchings, timelines, learned about color, made books, and we are now making flags, to name just some of the things we do in class. This class means the world to me. It allows me to escape the typical prison experience and play in the realm of free expression. It is very expansive and I am very grateful for this class. [Cliff]
“Mural Class.” C.R.C.I. “2014” – this class has been “excellent” for “me.” As a way to channel “positive” behavior. I enjoy this to the extent that I am an aspiring “artist” who maintained from the start of this program that this would be a fun experience for me and others as well. Upon my enrolling others saw “me” and joined as well. People figure if he’s cool and doing programs like this then I might as well ask and enroll. Just like that the class grew. And now I can say I look forward to doing future programs as such.” [Joe]
Stay posted for details about a preview of the project, and the conclusion of the program in the coming days.