MSU Broad Art Museum Hosts Exhibitions Addressing Mass Incarceration
Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum is welcoming the public to the opening of six new exhibitions focused on mass incarceration.
The exhibitions tell the stories of current and formerly incarcerated people. At any given moment in the United States there are more than two million people incarcerated or in detention facilities.
Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, the Director of the MSU Broad Art Museum, said she wants to bring attention to the reasons why the U.S. has the largest number of incarcerated people in the world.
“There's really very little awareness of what happens in the facilities and also the challenges of returning citizens," she said. "There are a lot of challenges that also as a society, we are at large unaware of.”
Ramírez-Montagut said the exhibitions focus on subjects like the length of sentencing and overcrowding in Michigan’s prisons, the impact of incarceration on women, and the dangers of COVID-19 among the incarcerated.
She said one of the exhibitions is based on the story of Bobby Jean Johnson, who spent nearly 40 years in prison after being coerced by police into confessing to murder.
“It's a black queen of a chess game. And it kind of like, pays homage to the story of someone that was innocent at the moment of her incarceration," she added.
There are more than 30,000 people currently incarcerated in Michigan. Of those individuals, more than 3,000 are serving some form of solitary confinement.
The exhibitions are open to the public through the end of the year.