Creative Justice | Up From the Table, in the Hedreen Gallery

Written by Molly Mac, Curator, Hedreen Gallery
September 23, 2019

Exhibition Start  September 28, 2019

Exhibition End   November 24, 2019 

Opening Celebration September 28, 4-6pm

Creative Justice | Up From the Table

Artwork: sidewalk closed, photo by John LeotaFrom September 28 to November 24, 2019, Hedreen Gallery hosts Up from the Table, an exhibition of new work by artists and cultural organizers working with Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County. The exhibition features photography, sculpture, textile and sound created by the youth artists of Creative Justice in collaboration with program mentor artists Dan Paz, Le’Ecia Farmer, Ashley Tiedeman and Olisa Enrico and program directors Aaron Counts and Nikkita Oliver. The work explores the human cost of mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Much of the work is comprised of materials sourced from the local community at a mid-summer family dinner hosted at historic Washington Hall. There, attendees sat for family portraits, shared oral histories and contributed clothing items from those loved ones lost to the criminal-legal system. Up from the Table is an elegy for those people and a tribute to those left behind. It challenges us to reimagine what justice is and what it can be; to consider our current state of mass incarceration and ask not just How did we get here? But also, What toll does that take on our communities?

All Hedreen Gallery exhibitionsand programs are free and open to the public. Location and hours available here. 

Creative Justice

Creative Justice offers an arts-based alternative to secure detention for young people in King County. Envisioning new opportunities to care for youth rather than locking them away, Creative Justice centers and builds community with those most impacted by systemic causes of mass incarceration: racism, classism and other forms of oppression. Creative Justice advocates for court-involved young people to remain in the community, using art to amplify their voices and promote change.

Through an agreement with King County Courts, the time and creative work youth invest in Creative Justice can be used in mitigating any active court case they may be facing. In this way, Creative Justice asks our justice system to behave differently: to view our youth through a wider lens, to trust the community to address its own needs, and to celebrate the strengths and creativity of young people navigating a complex world.

In the Artists' Words

The school to prison pipeline is real, and far too many of our youth—most of them black, brown, and poor—are jailed despite major research that shows juvenile incarceration does not make communities any safer.

We know we are better off when we connect with each other. That’s what we want to do. Creative Justice is an art program, and it is also a social justice movement. Both are born of imagination: they are about exploring the possibilities that we create as individuals and as members of a collective. They document where we are and where we want to go. They articulate the power and potential of our communities in the face of systems actively working for our demise.

“You must learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served.” –Nina Simone

Image: image caption: sidewalk closed, photo by John Leota