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We are currently partnering with the city of Austin's Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) on an exhibition honoring the creativity of women in confinement. This collaborative event is being organized and contributed to by Laura Esparza, Herlinda Zamora, Michelle Dahlenburg, Deborah Esqunazi, Christina Balli, and Linda Crockett. Not only is TCJC surveying women who are incarcerated to help improve policy, but we are also providing them a voice by exhibiting their art and poetry pieces with the MACC.
TCJC invites system-involved women to submit their poems, paintings, panuelos, or drawings for an art exhibit that will honor the creativity of women in confinement. Please see the image at left for the first piece of artwork we received!
We will be hold the exhibit during the annual Sor Juana Festival, which takes place April 18 and 19, 2014. This festival celebrates the creative work of women. This year's festival is focused on the issues and the artwork of incarcerated women.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1695) was a scholar and a writer who chose a life of confinement as a nun in order to continue her studies and her writing. She was silenced after being condemned by the Archbishop of Mexico for advocating for the education of women. Today, she is recognized as one of Mexico's greatest poets.
Art Submissions: If you know a woman who would like to donate a poem or piece of artwork, she has two options for submitting it. We can pick it up from her, or she can mail it to us.
In order for us to pick up items from her, please have her write to us with her name, and the name and location of her unit. We will begin picking up her items in early March. She will have to contact the Property Officer on her unit and tell the officer that she are giving us permission to pick up the artwork. If she is required to provide the officer a name of the person picking up the artwork, please say Hadill Calderon. If she is at Plane State Jail, we will be unable to pick up any artwork.
If she would like to mail us her art directly, please have her send it to the following address:
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
Attention: Artwork Submission
1714 Fortview Road, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78704
For all pieces of art, please include the author or artist’s name, the name of her facility, and her mailing address.
Presentation of Art: If a woman submits poetry, we will have actors read the poem during the event, at different venues. If she sends artwork, it will be displayed with her name. She will receive a certificate of participation.
Return of Art: We do not have the funds to return artwork by mail. However, a friend or relative can contact us, and we can try to arrange for them to get the artwork or poetry from us in Austin.
Otherwise, if we cannot return the art, we may have an auction at a future date. If the author/artist gives us permission, we will sell the artwork and proceeds will go to TCJC to continue our outreach to incarcerated individuals. If a woman submits art, she must let us know if she is willing to participate in the auction if we cannot return the art to her.
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In conjunction with the art exhibit, we will be issuing a report on many of the issues faced by incarcerated women. To better understand those issues, we are conducting an ANONYMOUS survey. To request a mailed survey, please contact TCJC.