On Tuesday, May 26th, Columbia River Correctional Institution (CRCI) will host a dedication ceremony for KYC’s newest creative placemaking project: 30 Flags, an art installation at a minimum-security prison made by inmates, in collaboration with artist Emily Squires.
Since October, Squires has been an artist-in-residence at CRCI. In partnership with KYC and scholar-activist Reiko Hillyer, Squires collaborated with adults in custody to design, screenprint, and install a series of handmade flags throughout the institution. The flags will be installed at the entryway into CRCI, throughout the main hallway of CRCI, and every artist mailed a set to some one of their choosing on the outside.
During weekly art workshops – bookmaking, drawing, and collage – the group discussed the concept of place. Through thinking about the specificity and regulations of inside (CRCI as an institution, the interior rooms and exterior yard, the bunk) versus the physical and emotional dislocation from outside (Portland, home, location prior to incarceration), the group identified different audiences: fellow adults in custody, people that can come and go (volunteers, staff, or family) and external communities. They designed flags using both image and text to carry messages of their choosing based on their lived experiences. Approximately twelve artists created thirty unique designs, each 7″x9.” Squires burned silkscreens in her studio, and the group screenprinted hundreds of flags in CRCI. Squires sewed the flags into long strands that can be hung as a complete set (picture flags flying above a car lot or Tibetan prayer flags).
While the event is not open to the general public due to the security requirements of the prison, we’ll have photos and extensive documentation on our site in the coming weeks. In addition, an extra set of the flags will be made to travel to spaces outside of the prison, in the community. Stay tuned to our site for more info about public showings, or sign up on our e-mail list for the latest (do so in the top right corner of our site).
30 Flags is made possible through the generous support of the Vital Projects Fund. The program is also made possible, in part, by individual members and donors. For more information on supporting Know Your City and the expansion of programs like 30 Flags, click here.
For more on 30 Flags, see our previous blog posts documenting the program: