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Why Share the Mic?

The Fowler Museum hosts “Incarcerated Arts”

Share the Mic: Incarcerated Arts
Saturday, October 17, 12pm

At their best, museums shape conversations about the complexity of human nature and experience, past and present. Public programming is key to exploring different viewpoints and reducing sweeping historical narratives to a human scale. This Saturday, October 17th, we are hosting what promises to be an inspiring conversation on ways art programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals benefit our communities—within and outside prison walls. We will be joined by Professor Bidhan Roy, co-founder of Words Uncaged and Director of CSULA’s Bachelor of Arts program at Lancaster State Prison; Tobias Tubbs, spoken word artist and co-founder of Words Uncaged; Fabian Debora, Executive Director of Somos L.A. Arte – Homeboy Art Academy; and Jahanna Blunt, Program Director of Rhythm Arts Alliance. These L.A.-based panelists share a belief in the power of words, pictures, and dance; honor the creative potential of every human being; and seek to create more humane solutions to the California penal system.

Incarcerated Arts is part of our new Share the Mic series, which gives a platform to thought leaders committed to amplifying the voices and concerns of historically underrepresented communities in museums. This offering was specifically designed for the current moment, when museums are called upon to share authority; be truthful in relating difficult histories; and cease privileging white and Eurocentric viewpoints. Through such programs as Incarcerated Arts the Fowler is widening its circle of stakeholders and striving to meet the demands of the times and the city’s multifaceted population.

Black and brown disenfranchised communities are disproportionately impacted by America’s incarceration system, which is now one of the principal drivers of racial and economic injustices in this country. The Fowler’s Saturday program will feature panelists who are actively advocating for change through the arts; and guiding museums and other cultural institutions in respectfully and productively engaging incarcerated and formerly incarcerated communities. Our conversation will be particularly enriched by hearing from Tobias Tubbs and Fabian Debora, celebrated published author and accomplished artist respectively. In future programs and the work ahead, we at the Fowler hope to highlight and learn from the transformative work of UCLA programs dedicated to social justice: the Prison Law & Policy Program; the UCLA Prison Education Program directed by prison activist, actor, author, and educator Bryonn Bain; Bruin Underground Scholars; and the efforts of Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, African American Studies, and Urban Planning, and The Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History. Professor Hernandez—one of the nation’s leaders on race, immigration, and mass incarceration—is the Director and Principal Investigator for Million Dollar Hoods, a university-based, community-drive research project that maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles.

Your participation in our programs spurs us to create more meaningful and stimulating offerings. Although the museum has been closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, our online attendance has been soaring We greatly enjoy spending time with you virtually and look forward to seeing you in person when we reopen. For now, please join us for another inspiring conversation this Saturday.

—Amy Landau, Director of Education and Interpretation

Image courtesy of ACTA, Arts in Corrections

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