Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?
Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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I met Janie at the Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, in the summer of 1992. She had grown up in Concord, Massachusetts, was a New York artist, and had recently worked as an artist in communities in South Africa. So much of what has happened in the Prison Creative Arts Project and in my life is a result of our meeting. During my 1993 sabbatical, ...
1. The Beginning
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PCAP began when I was a curly-haired blond boy of five with an odd name who was bullied on Chestnut Street, when I realized the bullying was unmerited since in my home I was loved and affirmed, when in response to the bullying I instinctively developed strategies—reading, modeling myself after my strong father, figuring out how to become popular—and when a ...
2. Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?
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At the end of our English 310 Saturday retreat, students scramble to become teams and choose sites. In September 2005 Sarah Carswell, Jeff Cravens, and Mike found each other and selected a poetry workshop at the Calumet Center in Highland Park, a new site. A few days later they learned that Calumet, unlike the other juvenile facilities, tests volunteers for drugs. Not...
3. The University Courses
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At the end of a long quiet corridor is 3275 Angell Hall. When the Department of English moved from Haven Hall years ago and the lottery brought me second pick among senior faculty, I chose this office for its windows, distance from the department office, and small open space outside where we could crunch down for small group meetings. Around Thanksgiving ...
4. The Workshops
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Children and youth, incarcerated youth, and prisoners, working with English 310 and 319 students, with Art and Design 310 students, and with PCAP members, have presented their plays, poetry, art, and other work in primary schools, in rural high schools, in urban day and night high schools, in girls’ ...
5. A Matter of Language
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On April 5, 2006, I received an e-mail message from Maureen McGraw, Library director and our liaison at the Thumb Correctional Facility: It is imperative that you meet with Connie Carriveau (Manager of Programs and Education), Deputy Will Riley and myself before the next theatre/creative writing class session. ...
6. “This Is Our Bridge . . . and We Built It Ourselves!” The Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners
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In January and February 2007 we travel as we have for the past eleven years, selecting art for the Twelfth Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners.1 Traveling, we move between two problematically parallel universes, prisons and what prisoners call “the world,” that is, between prisons and the towns depending upon them economically, or between prisons and a largely ...
7. Is the Scapegoat Not Our Brother?
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It was spring 2002 and our first role-play in the early days of our rehearsals for When Can We Talk?, a collaborative creation by former prisoners and PCAP members under the direction of Gillian Eaton. We stood in a circle in the Frieze Building on the University of Michigan campus, in an acting studio inside the old Carnegie Library, and Gillian told us, “I’ve got bad news. ...
8. The Prison Creative Arts Project: Crafted Out of Newspaper, Modge Podge, Paint, and Glitter
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PCAP’s early days were freewheeling. No administrator, no executive committee, no national advisory board, very little attention from the Michigan Department of Corrections. A handful of us doing the work, usually fifteen of us in the living room of Sara Falls and Matt Schmitt’s little house for a couple hours every week, committed, knowing what we were doing ...
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Ashley Lucas came to the 2008 Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners to perform Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass, her one-person piece about the family members of prisoners. On April 1 she visited English 319. We began with a talk circle, the students introducing themselves, saying what site they worked at, and sharing something on their mind about the ...
10. The PCAP Associates: Places Like Rwanda
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When in my doddering years my mind roves and dreams without control, the Ginsberg Center living room will be a frequent site of odd, intense events. Haunting figures will spin through the heavy wooden sliding doors that lead to the reception area and hallway, pirouette around the room, wave their claws, sink into the comfortable chairs and couch, or sit rigid ...
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Page Count: 400
Illustrations: 26 illustrations
Publication Year: 2010