About a dozen San Francisco Bay Area art lovers in search of astonishing art ended up at San Quentin State Prison on August 21.
“How can we get people thinking and doing different things about the people in San Quentin?” Lashaw asked.
A curator at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, said that she’s looking for artists who currently have limited exposure to the art world, which brought her to San Quentin.
Santos won a prison art contest to paint a mural on one of the 100-foot-long dining hall walls and began painting in 1953. After completion of the first mural, prison officials decided to allow Santos to continue painting. He has generally been credited with all six 12-foot-high murals on the walls of the dining hall. It’s clear that some of the murals are the result of a community effort.
While on the tour, Tomoko noted the similarities between Rivera and Santos. She said that it’s clear that Santos drew on the work of Rivera.
In the arts studio Tomoko admired the work of incarcerated artists. “The art here is impeccable,” Tomoko said to the assembled artists. “It’s amazing to hear stories about people who have discovered their abilities and talents in prison.”
A representative from Pro Arts Gallery & Commons [located at 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612] presented its publication, Pro Arts Commons, which aims to give readers an understanding of common spaces in Oak- land.
According to the Pro Arts Gallery & Commons newsletter, spaces for public gatherings have been steadily disappearing. “It is not accidental that the land and resources belonging to and affecting the whole community are being commodified.”
Some of the objectives of the organization include getting people to find new ways to reclaim public spaces as well as actively co-creating ideas, projects, programs, and published content.
Currently, Pro Arts Gallery & Commons also seeks material from San Quentin writers.
The tour ended with the outside artists and incarcerated artists agreeing to find ways for future collaborations.