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Artists explore themes of restoration, re-entry in moving exhibit at Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery

June 15, 2018

words uncaged


​A stunning exhibit featuring photography, art and storytelling by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals is on display at the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery.

“(RE)think (RE)enter (RE)store,” is a collaboration between the organizations Words Uncaged and Unlock Tomorrow and Cal State LA.  The exhibit will be on display until June 30, with a closing reception on June 22. 

More than 500 guests attended the exhibit’s opening reception on June 2, which celebrated lives restored after incarceration.  

“If you believe in rehabilitation then that means you believe in a second chance,” said Travielle Pope, a Words Uncaged project participant that spoke during the reception. “…I’m quite sure that everybody in this room is not the same person they were [20 years ago].”  

The work of artists such as Estevan Oriol, MEAR ONE, Spanto, Valerie J. Bower, F. Scott Schafer and Danny Dwyer is featured, along with an installation by Chris Branscombe and Kenneth Webb, both of whom are incarcerated in state prison.

Contributing artists include inmates from California State Prison in Lancaster, youth from Orange County Juvenile Hall, and artists associated with the organizations Born X Raised and Sister Inmates. Mika Cho, director for the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery and Valerie J. Bower curated the exhibit. 

Events related to the exhibit include a Tech for Good Hackathon, which will be held on June 16 at the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery. Hosted by Headspace, a digital service company, and Unlock Tomorrow, the event will bring together students, community members, formerly incarcerated individuals, entrepreneurs, and engineers for a design and rapid prototyping session. Participants will explore ways to better facilitate re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals to reduce recidivism.  

On June 22, Brick of Gold Publishing will release the highly anticipated second edition of the Words Uncaged book series, Words Uncaged; DisConnected/ReConnected. The closing reception starts at 7 p.m. 

Photo: opening reception guests viewing the exhibition (credit: Kim Preston)

By Kathleen Sanchez  | Cal State LA College of Arts and Letters News Service