Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Poster of the Week

Cedomir Kostovic
Offset, 2004
Springfield, Missouri

CSPG’s Poster of the Week announces the opening this week of Prison Nation:  Posters on the Prison Industrial Complex at U.C. Merced, Kolligian Library.  On Friday, January 24, there will be a series of panels, workshops and poster-making in conjunction with the exhibition, from 2-7:00 pm, at the United Methodist Church of Merced.  The exhibition will be up through March 9, 2013.  For a detailed list of events and addresses, please visit the calendar section of our website:

This updated version of Prison Nation launches Exhibitions -to-Go, CSPG’s new traveling format, using laminated, high quality digital reproductions to travel to venues that lack the security and environmental conditions needed to protect the vintage posters, including community centers, schools and outdoor festivals.  We will continue to travel our vintage posters, but digital reproductions will greatly increase the potential audiences for our powerful exhibitions.

PRISON NATION-Posters on the Prison Industrial Complex demonstrates the integral connection between art and social action. Powerful posters from artists, activists, and organizations around the country and the world, cry out against the devastating impact of the mass incarceration required to support the rapidly growing prison industrial complex (PIC). These graphics are evidence that there has never been a viable movement for social change without the arts being pivotal to conveying the ideas and passions of that movement. Grassroots efforts are more effective when strong graphics project their messages.

While funding for education and the arts plummets, funding for new prisons is skyrocketing. The United States has the largest prison population in the world-over 2.3 million people behind bars-quadrupling between 2008 and 2011. The U.S. has only 5% of the world's population yet we have 25% of the world's incarcerated population. Another sobering statistic is that black men are imprisoned four times more often than any other group: 1 out of 3 black men, 1 out of 6 Latino men, and 1 out of 17 white men will be imprisoned at some point in their lifetime.

This unique exhibition is relevant both to the community most effected by growing incarceration and to artists, activists, students, teachers, social service agencies, and community leaders. The posters in Prison Nation cover many of the critical issues surrounding the system of mass incarceration including: the death penalty, the Three Strikes law, racism, access to education and health care, the growing rate of incarceration, slave labor, divestment, privatization, torture, and re-entry into the community. They show the power of art to educate and inspire people to action.

Over the next two years, CSPG will be traveling Prison Nation: Posters on the Prison Industrial Complex, to six locations in the San Joaquin Valley and the Inland Empire.

This project is funded by the James Irvine Foundation and the California Arts Council.      

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