The San Quentin Project: Nigel Poor and the Men of San Quentin State Prison

21 Aug 2019 – 17 Nov 2019

Event times

August 21–November 17, 2019

Cost of entry

Admission varies

Save Event: The San Quentin Project: Nigel Poor and the Men of San Quentin State Prison

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In 2011, Poor began volunteering as a professor for the Prison University Project, a nonprofit organization that provides higher education at San Quentin State Prison, a minimum-maximum facility that currently houses more than four thousand men. The San Quentin Project evolved from Poor’s experience teaching visual literacy and the history of photography at the prison. In those courses, she asked her students to complete “mapping exercises,” an activity where the men would react to photographs made by notable artists, formally analyze the images, and creatively explore their meaning. Poor eventually incorporated pictures from the prison’s historical archive into her classes, offering her incarcerated students a chance to respond to, refute, and translate these photographs. The men's distinctive interpretations offer viewers an opportunity to understand more about each individual and how he sees the greater world through the photograph. The San Quentin Project provides a unique opportunity for audiences to consider the role of art and the power of narrative, to discover how images of incarcerated populations have been codified, and to promote critical skills in reading the cultural signs and power structures inherent in visual images.

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Lisa J. Sutcliffe

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Harold Meeks

Nigel Poor

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