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Sean Starowitz
Assistant Director of Economic and Sustainable Development for the Arts 
starowis@bloomington.in.gov
812-349-3534

 

Award-Winning Artist Richard Ross Visits Bloomington to Present Juvenile In Justice Series, with Artwork in City Hall Beginning April 5

Bloomington, Ind. - Award-winning artist Richard Ross will visit Bloomington April 5 and 6 for a two-day interdisciplinary arts program that highlights his nationally-acclaimed, ongoing photographic series, Juvenile in Justice. 

A unique source for images of the American juvenile justice system, the Juvenile in Justice series depicts young people housed in facilities that treat, confine, punish and, occasionally, harm them. Ross collaborated with juvenile justice stakeholders to produce images that serve as a catalyst for change.                           

Kicking off the month-long series of events is the unveiling of a billboard in downtown Bloomington featuring one of Ross’ images, sponsored by Your Art Here, a local arts organization. This image, on the corner of 6th and Walnut Streets, kicks off a Your Art Here- curated series on detention facilities and incarceration.

On Thursday, April 5, Ross will begin his visit with a lecture at Indiana University’s Woodburn Hall (1100 E. 7th) at 4:00 p.m. During this event, he will discuss his Juvenile in Justice series, as well as his experience documenting incarcerated youth throughout America. 

Following the lecture, attendees are invited to visit the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art activity table at IU First Thursday where they can engage with Ross’ work. At the table, participants will have the opportunity to write and design a postcard to juveniles experiencing incarceration in the region or write a message to an elected official about current legislation. 

Also on Thursday, April 5, the public is invited to the exhibition opening of “Juvenile in Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross” at 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Atrium (401 N. Morton). The exhibition includes a selection of photographs that will be displayed at City Hall through April 30. During the opening reception, attendees are invited to participate in a Pages to Prisoners pack-a-thon, where people will write letters to be packaged with books and sent to incarcerated individuals in the Midwest. 

On Friday, April 6 at 4:00 p.m., Ross will host a workshop titled Photos of People and Telling Their Stories at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center (122 S. Walnut). In this workshop, participants will learn about the challenges of photographing people and how to effectively tell their stories through images and dialogue. Ross will discuss his unique skills and approaches to making people comfortable when sharing their stories. Limited space is available for this free workshop. To register for this event, participants must sign up online on the Ivy Tech Center for Lifelong Learning website.  

Immediately following the workshop is a production of Ross’ Juvie Talk at 5:30 p.m. This performance piece features the stories of juveniles pictured in his exhibition and explores the language of lock up, giving people a chance to engage with experiences and stories of juveniles in the system. Produced by Paul Daily through the Ivy Tech Student Production series, Juvie Talk will run prior to Ivy Tech’s production of Anon(ymous), by Naomi Iizuka. Anon(ymous) is the story of a young refugee separated from his mother as he journeys through the United States, encountering a wide variety of people - some kind, some dangerous and cruel - as he searches for his family. Admission is free for Juvie Talk and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for Anon(ymous) can be purchased at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater box office or online. 

Auxiliary events are programmed after Ross’ visit, including a Community Zine Making Workshop with Monster House Press and Rhino’s Youth Center on Friday, April 13 at 4:00 p.m. A week following Ross’ visit, community members are invited to attend this workshop to put what they’ve learned from Ross into practice. Participants will have the opportunity to work with professional publishers at Monster House Press to create pages for a Community Zine, which will be published and distributed in Bloomington by Monster House Press. 

While Ross is in Bloomington, he also will visit with advanced photography students from IU, Bloomington High School South and elected officials to discuss the juvenile justice system in the state of Indiana and Monroe County, challenging participants and asking officials to reflect on juvenile services offered in the region. 

This project is partially funded by the Office of the Vice Provost of Research and the Arts and Humanities Council at Indiana University Bloomington through the Public Arts Grant. These events also are supported by the City of Bloomington, IU Eskenazi Museum of Art, the IU Media School, the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies, Your Art Here, the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, the Ivy Tech Center for Lifelong Learning, Monster House Press, Rhino’s Youth Center, and Pages to Prisoners.

Ross is a photographer, researcher, and professor of art based in Santa Barbara, California. He has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Center for Cultural Innovation. Ross also has been awarded Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships. 

For more information on Ross’ visit and events, please visit artmuseum.indiana.edu.