Free Your Mind: Art and Incarceration in Michigan, showcasing inner worlds of incarcerated individuals and the fundamental issues that shape conversations around incarceration today, will be on exhibit in Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead at MOCAD through September 10, 2023.
The Michigan Justice Fund, a statewide initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University at Michigan and MOCAD are partnering in this impactful exhibit, which first opened in April.
Working with a coalition of more than a dozen organizations, Free Your Mind features the work of artists, and advocates with lived experience in the criminal legal system. The majority of these artists are either currently or formerly incarcerated. The exhibition centers on four key topics of inquiry: Michigan’s length of sentencing and overcrowding in prisons; the impact of incarceration on women; youth incarceration; and the dangers of COVID-19. Free Your Mind is presented at MOCAD with support from the Michigan Justice Fund.
“The Michigan Justice Fund is proud to support the Free Your Mind exhibition which seeks to center and amplify voices and perspectives that we rarely hear – those of the incarcerated,” says Michigan Justice Fund Director Ashley Carter. “This exhibition underscores the urgency of the current moment, and forces us all to grapple with the impact that incarceration has on individuals, their families, and our communities at large.”
In 2021, 64,000 Michigan residents were incarcerated in jails and prisons. More broadly, nearly 253,000 people in Michigan are currently under the carceral umbrella of jail or prison, probation, or parole. Michigan is 10th in the U.S. for the most incarcerated people.
Free Your Mind will also debut a portrait series highlighting leaders working to address systemic issues of mass incarceration statewide. The exhibition seeks to stimulate imagination and activate bold, solution driven responses towards creating a more equitable and just world.
Michigan Justice Fund is comprised of Michigan-based and national funders dedicated to advancing justice reform and the economic mobility of individuals with criminal convictions in Michigan. Since its inception in 2020, $20 million has been committed to the Michigan Justice Fund and more than $9 million has been deployed to organizations throughout the state.
Free Your Mind: Art and Incarceration in Michigan is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Steven L. Bridges, Senior Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, and Janie Paul, Senior Curator and Co-founder, Annual Exhibitions of Art by Michigan Prisoners, a project of the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan.
The Michigan Justice Fund is a funders’ collaborative that makes investments to stem the flow of individuals into the criminal justice system, supports the investment of public dollars to community-driven alternatives to incarceration, and works to ensure that those who are returning home after incarceration receive the support they need to flourish.
The work of the Michigan Justice Fund is informed by a group of 15 nationwide partners that have made financial commitments to advancing the work towards building a more equitable justice system. Partners include Ballmer Group, Blue Meridian Partners (The Justice and Mobility Fund), Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, DTE Energy Foundation, Ethel & James Flinn Foundation, Ford Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation, Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Kresge Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation.
- Powerful Exhibit Featuring Artwork by Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Artists
- The Michigan Justice Fund, a statewide initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University at Michigan and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) partner in this impactful exhibit.
About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full- service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed more than $1.4 billion through more than 85,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. Visit www.cfsem.org to learn more.
About the Michigan Justice Fund
The Michigan Justice Fund is a funders’ collaborative that makes investments to stem the flow of individuals into the criminal justice system, support the investment of public dollars to community-driven alternatives to incarceration, and ensure that those who are returning home after incarceration receive the support they need to flourish. The Michigan Justice Fund is comprised of Michigan-based and national funders dedicated to advancing justice reform and the economic mobility of individuals with criminal convictions in Michigan. Visit cfsem.org/mjf to learn more or make a donation to support the Michigan Justice Fund