Sunday, April 28, 2013

Eastern State Penitentiary

If you have ever been to the Fairmont Section of Philly, then you know the building. If you have been to Philly around Halloween, then you know the building. If you are an artist in Philly, then you really know the building. Eastern State Penitentiary is an amazing space for an installation.

Some past installations were by Judith Schaechter. Judith's The Battle of Carnival and Lent was done is stain glass. The light in the prison is already magical and to see the stain glass filter through the decaying prison was oddly spiritual.

A favorite of mine has been Linda Brenner's Ghost Cats. This was a series of sculpture cats in memory to the time when the prison was over run by the feral cats.

A few weekends ago, I went to the artists' orientation. This was a chance to explore the space, discuss what makes a successful proposal, ask questions, and observe visitors interacting with the current installations.

I love decay, rebirth, new hopes and second chances - so this may be an intriguing opportunity to explore these themes and make connections between the complex history of this building and its legacy in current prison policies and conditions. 

Some say well, why the prison? Sure it is a cool place - but what else is there? Why the prison? On Jan. 14, 2011, Jahmell Crockam, 19, shot  Patrolman Christopher Matlosz, 27, three times at close range and killed the officer. I knew Jahmell's sister well - she was a student of mine for four years. For the first time in my life, I saw and felt the other side. Hours were spent in thought, prayer, and mourning over this girl's brother and her family as well as the Officer Matlosz's family. It was an experience that changed my life. This opportunity to submit a proposal for an artwork could be a way to express all that.  

If you are interested in submitting a proposal to Eastern State Penitentiary, then click here. Hurry the deadline is June 13. 



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