Creative Resistance

Call for Art and Poems for Let’s Get Free’s 6th Art Show!

Call open to artists and poets on both sides of the prison walls

This year’s theme: Picture A Free World
Submission Due February 1, 2023

Picturing a Free World is an act of imagination in itself, and it will take creativity for us to get there. Art will help us imagine, to strategize and to continue our movements for freedom.

Show Opens July 2023 at Concept Gallery in Pittsburgh

Empathy is the Seed
Truth is the Water
Solidarity is the Bloomage

Featuring artists in prison & artists in solidarity with those in prison. Each artist responds to, creates from or embodies ingredients of abolition; the work to build and maintain a movement, the call for freedom, the desire to be seen, the presence and insistence on humanity, the practice of resistance and the true magic of possibility and what can be.

In this 7 minute short, Tamika Bell, Paulette Carrington and Starr Granger share some of what the journey home looks and feels like. They were all sentenced to die in prison when they were teenagers. They are home now after decades of incarceration.

End Death by Incarceration 2020
Art Show

This poignant 12 minute vignette features the transformative journeys of Tequilla Fields and Tameka Flowers who are both seeking commutation. This film radiates resilience and the power to change that is widespread amongst people with death by incarceration sentences. Listen to more stories here.

Let's Get Free's billboard on a street corner in harrisburg with five people standing underneath. "5,467 people in pa are sentenced to die in prison" The billboard has photographs of Tameka Flowers Charmaine Pfender and Sarita Miller.

The Creative Resistance Committee is just one part of Let’s Get Free.


Let’s Get Free’s Permanent Art Collection

Our permanent art collection is meant to be borrowed to give voice to people in prison and create dialogue wherever it may be. The art has been gathered over the years from our annual art shows and years of collaborating with artists in prison.

  • A small brown and white spotted fawn lays curled among yellow ferns on the ground of a forest. The entire image is painted on a leaf.
  • A 10-foot lilac-colored woven tapestry banner made with over 30 letters from people in prison. Spells out the word Redemption in large yellow letters
  • The piece is a portrait of Sheena’ King. She has medium length black hair with highlights of blue and orange and is smiling. She wears a pink collared shirt with orange highlights. The background is yellow beams emanating from the portrait over a teal background. In a circle surrounding the portrait is the quote, “We are not what we have done, we are who we have become” in cursive, blue text with a white outline.
  • The piece depicts an orange colored prison with grey doors chained shut on yellow gradient background. Above the prison there is text that reads, “What we lose.” Atop the prison, behind barbed wire, there are two grey cylinders from which two tubes with claws are holding the bodies of two women: the one on the left is colored in purple with long hair, the other is a skeleton of a person also colored purple. Along the tube to the left reads, “New Commit” leading down to the body, next to which reads “What will we do without her?” Along the tube to the right read, “LWOP” and “Medical Release.” Next to the skeleton on the right are the words, “What have they done with her?” Above the door of the prison are the words “…and what they say…” Above that are prison windows including three images: a green cross surrounded by the words, “Drink water, Lie down,” a grey brain next to the words, “You can read?” and red and pink depiction of the female reproductive system with the words, “Skank, Farry, Ugly, and Bitch.” In the foreground are four hands colored in purple. The hands are in various positions and each has a yellow rectangle with a word inside. From left to right they read, “No,” “Please,” “Why,” and “No.”
  • The piece depicts a closeup profile view of the face of a beautiful Black woman. She has brown eyes, dreads, and pink lipstick. She has a small shining stud in her nose. In her hands, she holds a yellow and orange key that emanates a bright light. The background is black and maroon with white speckles and some additional gold swirls. You can see that she is in the dark, the key in her hand a warm glowing light. This piece is emotional.
  • Still Hoping (For that ‘Wake Up Free’) by Darrell Van Mastrigt
  • This image depicts a person of color being eaten by a large clock while lying on their prison cell cot. The face of the clock is a wild animal, which is biting the prisoner and attempting to eat them. The numbers “11”, “12”, and “1” are visible on the animal’s forehead–the top of the clock. Looking over the prisoner in the top right corner is a hooded skeleton wearing a crown. A skeleton key hangs on a chain around the robed skeleton’s neck. The text “Coronavirus” is written on the left side of the skeleton’s hood. A bunch of letters are on the cell floor near the image’s bottom left. One letter is in the animal’s mouth. It says “Motion for relief Denied.” The other letters read “Pandem strikes US”, “Commutation Denied”, “Diabetes, Stroke, High Risk”, and “Grandpa, I hope that you are safe from Covid.” The image background is the prison cell’s stone wall, along with the cell door and its grated window

by the numbers

women with life sentences


188

women sentenced to die in PA prisons

5

people who identify as transgender with DBI (that we know of)

8

women have been commuted since 1992

36

women have died in custody since 1982

We got issues

There are many facets to the issue of death by incarceration in PA and how it intersects with gender. Here are some of them explained.

  • Aging in Prison
  • Life Sentences are Death Sentences
  • Commutation
  • Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • Transformation, Resilience & Redemption
  • Compassionate/Medical Release
  • Public Safety