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March 23, 2005 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-23

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 3

*ON CAMPUS
Conference to
address college
depression
A conference about depression on col-
lege campuses titled "Depression on Col-
lege Campuses: Fighting Stigma with
Knowledge and Understanding" will take
place today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the
Horace H. Rackham Building. The con-
ference will discuss many of the issues
related to the diagnosis and the treatment
of depression. The event is free of charge.
Film to explore
politics and
genocide in India
The film "Final Solution: The Poli-
tics of Hate" will be shown from 5 to
7:30 p.m. in Lorch Hall's Auditorium
today. The film graphically explores
the changing politics and genocide in
Gujarat, India from 2002-03.
Professor to
lecture on Israel
and the Holocaust
Frankel Center for Judaic Studies,
Director Todd Endelman will lecture
tonight at 8 p.m. in the Michigan League
Ballroom. He will speak about Israel's
relation with the Holocaust. The event is
free of charge.
CRIME
NOTES
Motorist
punched in face
by pedestrian
A man reported to the Ann Arbor
Police Department that he was punched
in the face by a pedestrian while he was
sitting in his car at a crosswalk on Mon-
day afternoon.
The 30-year-old man said he was
heading eastbound on Hill Street at
about 4 p.m. when he stopped at a cross-
walk at East University Avenue. The
driver said a man crossing the street
pointed at his front tire and said some-
thing. When the driver rolled down
his window, the man walked over and
punched the driver in the face.
The motorist said he followed the
pedestrian for a little while before call-
ing the police, but police were unable to
find him.
CD player stolen
from parked car
A caller reported that someone
attempted to steal her CD player out of her
vehicle while it was parked in the carport
on Thayer Street on Monday, according to
the Department of Public Safety.
Unattended wallet
* stolen from IMSB

A caller reported to DPS that his wallet
was stolen in the Intramural Sports Build-
ing between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Monday
while it was left unattended for about one
hour. There are currently no suspects.
THIS DAY
In Daily History
'U' students go
on hunger strike
in Alabama
March 23, 1965 - The participation
of 70 University students in last week's
Civil Rights demonstration in Mont-
gomery, Ala., continues to have impor-
an consequences both on campus and
in Alabama.
Four University students are still being
held in Alabama jails as they continue to
participate in a hunger strike. Accord-
ing to their attorney, they could spend as
many as 30 days awaiting their hearing.
Four female students who went to
Alabama are also facing charges at the
University because they did not sign out
of their dormitory before they left. The
students will face their house judiciary
tonight and can be charged with a penal-
* ty ranging from two days of social proba-
ti nn to a rarnmmvna tmnn fnr exnki, nn

Prisoners' art dispels common stereotypes

By Breeanna Hare
Daily Staff Reporters
Within Michigan's penitentiaries resides a population of 50,000 -
more than the entire student body at the University. Yesterday evening,
the Prison Creative Arts Project kicked off two weeks of events dedi-
cated to the incarcerated community with its 10th annual exhibition of
Art by Michigan Prisoners held in the Duderstadt Gallery.
The exhibition will showcase visual, musical, theatrical and writ-
ten artwork by the prisoners who are confined within the 42 prisons
throughout the state of Michigan.
English Prof. Buzz Alexander, founder of PCAP and the co-cura-
tor of yesterday's art exhibition said he feels that PCAP has a greater
purpose than just showing exceptional artwork - it is a demonstration
of the complexity of the prisoners themselves.
"If you think about it, people have stereotypes about people in pris-
ons. They have stereotypes that (prisoners) are dangerous, without tal-
ent; that they are rapists and molesters and that their art is bad art. Our
hope is that they'll see good art and that their vision of prisoners will
change," he said.
PCAP began in 1990 with two prisoners who were taking Univer-
sity courses through a program in which the University brings books
and notes to the prisoners. The two prisoners, who were enrolled in the
University's English 319 theater course, wanted to extend their new-
found opportunity to create artwork to their entire prison.
It was more of an accident, Alexander said.
"The 2 'lifers' excelled in the course, and then we opened it up to
the whole prison. I knew I wanted to go there. We saw the talent and
the resistant spirit in the prisons," he added.
Former prison artists Paul Betts and Pedro Cassada attested to the
strength required to formulate artistic works while being "locked up"
for nearly 24 hours a day. Betts, who was imprisoned for six years in
a penitentiary located in Jackson, won the Penn American Award for
his short story, "Flat Top for Cherry Hill," in 2000.
"Every day when you're incarcerated you have to give yourself a
reason to live. Every day you have to redefine who you are because the
world has already defined you. This is one of the few programs that
allows for that," Betts said.
Cassada, who was recently released on Jan. 30, put over 300
hours into his colored-pencil drawing of a Phoenix that was on
display at the exhibition.
"I didn't like the man I had become, and I wanted to change," Cassada
said. "There are only two things you could do (in prison): stay positive or
stay negative - there's no gray area. The gray area is still negative."
It was at this time, he said, that PCAP rejuvenated him through his
artwork. "Art offered me a daily escape from confinement. Everything
you see comes from my heart. When you look at this work, don't just
see the pretty colors, try to look at it and see what they were thinking.
Look deep into the picture."
Co-curator and Art and Design Prof. Janie Paul also said she encour-
ages viewers to seek out the personal stories behind the pictures.
Paul said that due to the continuous growth of PCAP, the selection
process was harder than ever this year. "(Alexander and I) asked the
artists to dig down deep and present something personal," Paul said.
"It brings the issues out because it brings out the creativity. I feel really
committed and in solidarity with the artists; it's made my art more
detailed and has influenced me to be more authentic," she added.

Suzanne Gothard at the annual exhibition of art by Michigan prisoners at the Duderstat Center Art Gallery yesterday.

PCAP administrator Suzanne Gothard said she also found a life-
altering experience in the prisoners' ability to transcend their environ-
ment and create something beautiful. "I get inspired by these artists
who are creating in these conditions; it inspires me to find that need
within myself," Gothard said.
Patricia Caruso, Director of the Department of Corrections for the
state of Michigan, said she believes that, whether one is an artist or not,
anyone can gain a different perspective about these prisoners through
their art. "Those who work in the prisons, those who are imprisoned
and taxpayers all have a vested interest in making sure our prisons are
safe and secure. PCAP gives people something to live for, to work for,
to get out and stay out."
PCAP is also composed of dedicated students who put in
countless hours to ensure that these inmates' voices are heard
throughout the campus community. "PCAP sucks you in," said
RC senior Erin Kaplan, who served on the PCAP planning com-
mittee. "I got to meet the artists and to see people who are so
marginalized and silenced and see how much talent can exist in a
bleak environment. To hear them talk about their own work was
moving in itself," Kaplan said.
Aside from the normal itinerary of workshops at the prisons, the
exhibition will include events ranging from panel discussions about
the criminalization of youth and the death penalty in the United States,
to a night of theater exploring personal struggles in the transition from
prison to the outside community.
RC senior Megan Shachman has worked throughout the year to

present a forum on the Michigan Battered Women's Clemency Proj-
ect, which is included in the exhibition despite the fact that it is not art.
The project serves as a support system for incarcerated women who
argue self-defense in cases of domestic violence.
Shachman said she regrets that there were not any Clemency Proj-
ect women artists displaying work yesterday evening and attributes
this to the lack of programming in women's correctional facilities.
"Women are literally being forgotten and left to rot in prison,"
she said.
Shachman said she advocates that students interested in public
policy and political science help fundraise, review old cases and raise
awareness about the project. "We have a responsibility to care about
these women. You should care that you are part of a system that fails
women," Shachman said. "All the people we're talking about have
been failed by the incarceration system. We need to see these people
as part of the community."
LSA senior Evan Major said he agrees that the exhibition will
promote a more conscious view of our society's prisons. "The
expression is the number one thing I'll take away. The exhibit is
as much a commentary on the prison system as it is on the art,"
Major said.
PCAP will be displaying the exhibit at the Duderstadt Center Gal-
lery until Tuesday, April 5. For more information on events scheduled
throughout the Exhibition, visit www.prisonsart.org.
- Ryan Glass contributed to this report.

CAAS
Continued from page 1
much gold in Egypt on his way to
Mecca that he caused large-scale
economic depreciation. While both
of these men are prominent figures
in African history, they are largely
unknown to many students.
For Whitman, CAAS is a neces-
sary part of her education. "Being a
CAAS major does not give my edu-
cation depth," she said. "It gives my
education validity."
She added that if she "went through
life with an education of only people
with my (white) skin color, I would
go through life with a very incom-
plete education."
For some black students, studying
CAAS and these famous people in
African history is a chance to learn
about their own heritage.
LSA junior Jennifer Jones studies
CAAS to learn more about her Afri-
can-American background, and this
interest has been lifelong.

"My entire life I've been inter-
ested in the history and struggles of
black people," she said, adding that
the education most people get in high
school about blacks is very limited,
leading them to think -that "black
people kind of pop up sporadically,"
in historical events.
Jones said through her CAAS stud-
ies, she has gained a greater appreia-
tion for the role of people of African
descent in American history.
Connolloy also addressed the
increase in CAAS majors, saying
that many students are now adding
Afroamerican and African studies to
other concentrations, allowing stu-
dents to have a multicultural back-
drop to their education.
Many students end up double-
majoring in CAAS and biology or
education, he said, so they can "meet
the standards of a given profession
while developing an understand-
ing of the complex issues affecting
people of color within those various
lines of work."

Engineering sophomore Barney
Charles said after taking an introduc-
tory CAAS course, he became very
interested in African-American and
African history.
"(An engineering,)degree-will get
you a job, but I will spend four years
here, and I want to learn about some-
thing that interests me," he said. "I
find engineering very interesting, but

I find CAAS interesting also."
Regardless of their motivations,
Connolly said students who have a
background in Afroamerican and
African studies will have a vantage.
point in understanding the politics-
and world economy of the future.
In the next 25 years, he said,
Africa will become a major force
in international economics, as pre-

viously colonized countries such as
Kenya and South Africa build their
economies.
"This means that any fruitful con-
versation about globalization is going
to have4oconsider not onlyamajo iy-
black countries outside of America,
but also how the processes of global-
ization affect black people within the
United States," Connolly said.

I

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