On Saturday, Jan. 21, artists, activists and community members filled the Newcomb Art Museum for the opening day of the collaborative exhibit Unthinkable Imagination: A Creative Response to the Juvenile Justice Crisis. Steered by an advisory panel of activists involved in juvenile justice reform in Louisiana, the exhibit runs through June 10. Visit the Newcomb Art Museum website for more information.
(Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)
Visitors read the opening statement of the exhibit, which features a range of visual experiments developed in community spaces through dialogues between artists and youth with direct knowledge of Louisiana’s carceral system.
Two visitors chat near a display of ‘Steps to Freedom,’ paintings created by anonymous youth in a creative expression workshop led by artist and activist Sheila Phipps at the Travis Hill School, which is located inside the New Orleans’ Juvenile Justice Detention Center and Orleans Justice Center.
In the Woodward Way breezeway, various youth advocacy organizations are on hand to offer information and resources.
Robert Jones, artist and criminal justice reform activist who served over 23 years in prison for crimes he did not commit, discusses his paintings, ‘Let's Play’ (left), and ‘Why Me.’ Jones currently serves as the director of community outreach for the Orleans Public Defenders Office.
Panelists discuss the current juvenile justice crisis and how the exhibition came to be. A detail from the mural ‘Together, Towards Freedom,’ created by Langston Allston and youth from the Young Artist Movement, serves as the backdrop.