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More than a Witness: How Art Can Help Close Prisons, Free Mothers, Pass Laws, and Destroy Stereotypes 

A talk by Courtney Bowles & Mark Strandquist

Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative
2018-2019 Speaker Series 

How Is Rochester a Prison Town?

Mark Strandquist and Courtney Bowles have spent years using art as a vehicle to help amplify, celebrate, and power social justice movements.  Their media campaigns and immersive exhibitions have helped advocates close prisons, pass laws, train an entire police force (Richmond, VA), and connect the dreams and demands of communities impacted by the criminal justice system with tens of thousands of people. They believe that stories matter, that changing public perceptions is needed if we want to truly transform systems in progressive and human-centered ways. 

To this end, their work has reached wide audiences through exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, galleries across the United States, as well as public spaces, parades, prisons, and many non-traditional exhibition sites. Their work has been featured in the NY Times, NPR, Washington Post, PBS, and VICE.  They currently direct the People’s Paper Co-op in Philadelphia, PA, the Performing Statistics project in Richmond, VA and in 2017, building on fellowships from A Blade of Grass and Open Societies Foundation, began the Reentry Think Tank.

This talk is presented in conjunction with art installations at the Art & Music Library Gallery and at Sage Art Center (March 21–April 7). 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 5:00pm to 6:00pm

Rush Rhees Library, Humanities Center Conference Room D
755 Library Road, Rochester, NY 14626

Event Type

Lectures and Talks


General Public


humanities, art & art history



Humanities Center


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