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Billboard in Houston, TX

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Fortune artists: Becky Jane Dunham, Chaniah Flicking, Desiree Soto, Devin Hughes, L. Miriam Hansberry, Maria Hazelton, Nadine Richardson, Queen Robinson, Raymond Benekin, Ryan Bennett, Sarah Moreno, and Jake Pankey.

SaveArtSpace and Art at a Time Like This (ATLT) partnered to present the Houston, TX edition of 8X5, a nationwide public art campaign named for the size of an average prison cell. This timely public intervention presents the work of artists responding to mass incarceration and inequalities in the justice system. Originally launched in Miami in June 2022, 8x5 Houston will go live on November 4, 2023.

Jenny Polak in collaboration with artists from The Fortune Society who have been impacted by the (in)justice system: Becky Jane Dunham, Chaniah Flicking, Desiree Soto, Devin Hughes, L. Miriam Hansberry, Maria Hazelton, Nadine Richardson, Queen Robinson, Raymond Benekin, Ryan Bennett, Sarah Moreno, and Jake Pankey.

Polak uses familiar materials to make public and community engaged art, drawings, structures and commemorative objects. Her studies in architecture and planning, family history of migration, and collaborations with directly impacted community members drive projects about prison abolition and community empowerment in the face of hostile authorities.

With ink, building materials, upcycled fabrics and slipcast ceramics, her site- and community-responsive installations and objects connect struggles for justice to domestic dreams: of homes, sharing platforms and overcoming barriers. Since 2020, and now with a Creatives Rebuild NY grant, she has been working with members of The Fortune Society - people who have survived incarceration - to develop collaborative artworks. Her art intends to provoke a desire to resist expanding prisons and border violence and the fear-mongering fueling them. Her work activates sites where it is seen - whether in homes, galleries or out in public - and lifts up the vision of contributors.

NOTE: THIS PUBLIC ART EXHIBITION WAS CENSORED BY ALL BILLBOARD COMPANIES IN HOUSTON, TX. Read more about this experience in The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, and ArtNet News.

We thank Houston Museum of African American Culture for the space they’ve provided for this critical public art exhibition.

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