“Listen, you don’t have a lot of time. I just want to show you something.” And I reached into my pocket and pulled out my old prison ID. The Senator looked at it, and then I went in my other pocket and showed him this college ID. And I said to him, “This is the different side. That is the difference.” And he responded, “Enough said.” — Dominique Bell, project collaborator
Future IDs at Alcatraz is a yearlong project, exhibition, and series of monthly public programs. The installation features ID-inspired artworks created by and with individuals who have conviction histories as they conceive and develop a vision for a future self. In stark contrast to prison-issued IDs, these artworks represent individual stories of transformation.
Social practice artist Gregory Sale leads a team that works to translates criminal justice reform efforts into a visual language. Together, Sale, Dr. Luis Garcia, Kirn Kim, Sabrina Reid, Jessica Tully, and many others are exploring ways to shift thinking about rehabilitation, reentry, and reintegration.
Installed in the New Industries Building, the project functions as a platform for conversation through a variety of performances, workshops, and civic dialogue experiments that are co-curated with community partners. Throughout the year, the Future IDs team will co-host public programs, continue to offer artmaking workshops, accept contributions of new IDs, and evolve the installation to amplify the voices and visions of individuals returning to everyday life after incarceration.
Future IDs at Alcatraz invites reflection on the criminal justice system, second chances, and individual freedoms in the United States. Today, this country has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated people. More than 95% will eventually be released. Of those incarcerated, people living below the poverty line and people of color are disproportionately represented.
The project emerged from a fluid collaborative process with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles and has grown over four years into a multi-layered initiative, involving more than twenty community organizations. Working closely with LaVell Baylor, Dominique Bell, Dr. Luis Garcia, Kirn Kim, Ryan Lo, Aaron Mercado, and Sabrina Reid, Sale and many collaborators designed the project and led artmaking workshops across California, both inside prisons and in communities.
Though none of the Future IDs participants were incarcerated on Alcatraz, individuals returning to society – both then and now – face an almost insurmountable stigma of having a history of incarceration, contributing to consistently high rates of recidivism. The project engages Alcatraz’s layered history as iconic federal prison, birthplace of the Native American Red Power Movement, national park, and international Site of Conscience. It is presented in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy through the Art in the Parks program.
Donald G. Sanchez
Dr. Luis Garcia
Felix Lex Miranda
Guss Lumumba Edwards
J Antonio Morales
Jonathan C. Marin
Jonathan Daniel Melendez
Phillip E. Lester
Weston Scott Kruger
Jamee Crusan, Sara Daleiden, Ben Leon, Jennifer Nix, Jessica Tully, and co-curators Sara Cochran and Chris Sicat play key supportive roles as artistic and conceptual collaborators.
Thank you to everyone who took the risk of being involved in the creation of this exhibition and on-going project. Without your trust in this open, creative process and, for many of you, your willingness to allow your images and words to appear in this context, the impact of this work would be lessened. — Gregory Sale
Projects of this scope, in order to be realized, require tremendous institutional, community, and individual support. To all of you, we offer our sincere gratitude.
The ongoing project is generously supported by Creative Capital Foundation, A Blade of Grass/David Rockefeller Fund, SPArt, Art Matters, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and individual contributors. It was developed during artist residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts, Montalvo Arts Center, The Bunny House, and ModNomad Studio, and received in-kind support from Olson Visual and SRU Studios.
Special thanks to Alexandra Shabtai, Brent Bolthouse, Scott Budnick, Shaka Senghor, Carol Newborg, Emma Hughes, Arden Burstein, Chelsi Rossi, Eric Montgomery, Leslie Lakes, Deanna Van Buren, Eric Susser, Jenny Pizer, Doreena Wong, Chris Santa Maria, Sarah Shourd, Johanna Taylor, Ruby Lerner, Anne Bray, Paul S. Flores, Joan Osato, Dawn Sinko, Anastasia King, Roberto Bedoya, Eliza Gregory, and many others.
Future IDs at Alcatraz finds its connectivity and resonance through engagement with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Prisoners Reentry Network, William James Association’s Prison Arts Project, Community Works West, Youth Speaks, Young Women’s Freedom Center, Actors’ Gang Prison Project, Project Paint, Insight Garden Program, San Francisco Conservation Corps, Project Rebound at Fresno State, Revolutionary Scholars, Social Practice Arts Research Center at UC Santa Cruz, Creative Visions, Montalvo Arts Center, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, California Lawyers for the Arts, Maricopa Reentry Center, and San Quentin, Avenal, and Donovan state prisons, and others.