Panel Discussion on the U.S. Prison System: Saturday, November 15


Panel Discussion on the U.S. Prison System
Saturday, November 15, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Panel Discussion "Behind Bars: Inmates, Counselors and Volunteers": Saturday, November 15, 3 - 5 pm
Location: BYRDCLIFFE Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY
Gallery Hours: Thursday through Sunday, 12 - 6 pm

On November 15, 2014, in conjunction with the current exhibition Henrietta Mantooth: Jailbirds & Flowers, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild will host a panel discussion featuring an array of guests who have intimate experience of the New York prison system, ranging from incarceration to counseling and creative mentoring of inmates. Panelists include Andre Noel, who was an inmate of 12 years at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility. There, Noel learned modern dance and created Figures in Flight, a dance company comprised of men who have spent part of their lives in prison. He will give a short dance performance as part of the event. Susan Slotnick, who taught Noel dance as part of her own intensive volunteer effort at bringing movement and emotional release to inmates at Woodbourne and other facilities, will also be a participant on the panel.

Other panelists are Gustavo Ramirez, M.A., the Program Director of the Secure Residential Treatment program in Springfield, Massachusetts; Greta Baker, the Artistic Director of the ArtTree Theater Troupe at Eastern Correctional Facility, the maximum security prison in nearby Napanoch; and Kathleen Donovan who has a Master’s degree in dance and teaches improvisational theater with the ArtTree Theater company at Eastern Correctional Facility. Lastly, the panel includes Ines Fernandez, MSW, a counselor and social worker who has worked at Eastern and other prisons.

The featured artist, Henrietta Mantooth, who packed the Kleinert/James Gallery with a talk on October 25, will also participate in the discussion. As a vivid backdrop to the panelists, the exhibition features Mantooth’s The New Jim Crow, a monumental, theatrically composed installation in which birds recount tales of the injustices in prisons today.

The panel, starting at 3:00 pm on Saturday, November 15, is free to the public.

Henrietta Mantooth: Jailbirds & Flowers is curated by Nancy Azara and Matthew T. Leaycraft.

Image credit: Henrietta Mantooth, The New Jim Crow, 2014. Mixed media installation. Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, Woodstock.


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