Just outside the Receiving and Release building 40 incarcerated men sat, squat or bent over and held chalk of every color to decorate a 32 inch by 32 inch square on a tar surface with the artists’ meaning of peace. It’s all for The Day of Peace https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_PeaceSidewalk Chalk Contest.
Hines, who facilitates the William James Association https://williamjamesassociation.org/prison_arts/ sponsored Arts in Corrections program in San Quentin, would determine first, second, third and honorable mention.
Hines is familiar with the sidewalk art in the local community.
“San Rafael has an annual sidewalk chalk contest, so it’s nice to have one here, too,” Hines said. “The guys are expressing personal stuff that’s related to how they see peace — it’s also nice to see all the colorful pieces, the chalk allow them to do that.”
First place was awarded color paper, watercolor paper and paint and color pencils. Second and third won, watercolor paper and paint as well as color pencils.
Volunteer Kat Morgan, from Urban Adamah https://www.urbanadamah.org/ (Earth) comes inside San Quentin every month to hold Shabat services. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbat Morgan looked at all the pieces and liked No. 9 and No.17.
“I’m a musician,” Morgan said about No. 9, “And music is peace.
“I think that if everyone practiced Loving Kindness, the world would be a better place,” Morgan said about No. 17. While watching the artists work, Morgan added, “This is a chance for everyone to participate — it’s great to have it out in public and everyone enjoying it.”
Holly Stuckey drew No. 12.
“I was trying to thread the needle between making it and deer and “Kawaii,” which means cute in Japanese.”
Amy Ho said, “I feel like there’s more people this year—it’s more diversity of artists participating—more people who are not in the art program.”
First: Holly Gustafson; Second: Eric Rives; Third: Holly Stuckey; Fourth: Myers (K47097)
Gustafson said, “It’s a butterfly with peace signs in its wings. The heart and love represents peace in here.” She added, “The colors go with peace — they are mellow pastels, rather than the bright colors.”
Referring to the Day of Peace, Gustafson said, “It nice to have stuff like this—it shows that change is coming. More prisons should do this.”
When asked to describe the day in one word, Gustafson said, “Beautiful.”