Art & Storytelling Events News

Picture A Free World Art Show Opens July 7th@ Concept Art Gallery

Let’s Get Free teams up with Concept Art Gallery  in Regent Square, for a new exhibit called Picture A Free World. Art will help us imagine, strategize, and continue our movements for freedom. 

Over 60 artists from prison and 30 artists in solidarity have created work across various mediums, including cross stitching, paintings, sculpture, and photography that all considers the question: What is a free world for you, and for others?

There are over 100 pieces of art up for auction benefiting the work of this local prison advocacy group. The auction starts on July 7th and will last three weeks until Monday July 24th at 8pm. People can bid in person at the gallery or online from home. All money raised supports the work of Let’s Get Free. 

First time participant from Colorado, Cedar Mortenson submits an illustration with colored pencils that connects issues of forgiveness, environmental justice, and ending gun violence.  

An illustration with a golden background drawn with colored pencils, that kind of glitter. A woman with the head job is sitting facing her side, reading a book surrounding her in an oval is text in different languages. It says Picture A Free World 🗝 no gun violence. There is a gun honeycomb butterflies ships sparkly diamonds, floating around this woman with a city in the background kind of like a halo.

She writes, “I recognize the inherent right to life for all living creation. We exist in tandem with each other and every other living thing. I used gold leaf paper befitting a golden, free world, and my color choice is a tribute to all beautiful tones of brown behind bars from cream, to mahogany. I used multiple languages because the message is universal/ Education is liberation. Everyday I become more and more free.”

Zhi Kai Vanderford is incarcerated in a women’s prison in Minnesota and has served close to four decades behind the walls. This is his second year participating in our show. Zhi Kai considers his art “protest art” and is consistently thought provoking.  

“I had a hard time encompassing all that freedom would mean to me. For example, this is a no touch facility, so I haven’t had a hug in 5 years. I will be having a visit soon and remedy that. But the concept is not easily quantifiable, to be able to go to a door and open it, a fridge, a night time sky, petting animals, etc. So I sent you my first piece called ‘self-inflicted injury’ as incarceration is my fault. In my work, I have sewn my eyes and mouth shut but in my mind’s eye I see my potential life.” 

Month long event series includes: 

🌟July 7th Friday 4 – 9 pm Opening & Auction Kick Off

Auction closes Monday July 24th 8pm. Online and in person auction. Food, Drink, Cheap Art Sale, Quilt Raffle & more.

🌟July 8th Saturday  2pm  Amachi Pittsburgh 

Performance by the Amachi Pittsburgh Ambassadors

🌟July 21st Friday 5-7:30 Dorothy Burge 

Quiltivism Presentation starts at 6:30 

🌟July 22nd Saturday 2 – 3:30pm – Art, Imagination and Liberation Panel Discussion @ Carnegie Museum of Art

🌟July 23 Sunday 2 – 5pm – Artmaking w/ Dorothy
Quilt inspired Message Making with Dorothy Burge

In partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Art, the weekend of July 21 will be action packed! Friday night starts off with an artist talk by Chicago based quiltivist, Dorothy Burge. Dorothy is a fabric and multimedia artist and community activist who uses her quilt portraits in tandem with movements to end police brutality and criminal injustice. 

Saturday’s panel – Art, Imagination and Liberation will feature Mariame Kaba, Nicole Fleetwood and Dorothy Burge in conversation. This event will take place in person at the Carnegie Museum of Art with online options. 

Full list of Events, Auction/Contest Info and Online Gallery is available HERE

Alongside our virtual art show, this is our second year including poetry. 70 poets from the inside have submitted poems! A booklet of poems will be available for free at the show. 

Art as a tool for liberation has been a central element of Let’s Get Free’s work since its inception. The art shows have steadily built advocacy for the release of deserving individuals from Pennsylvania state prisons and have created conversations and collaborations that invite meaningful reciprocity between the prison walls. 


Contact: etta cetera: 443-603-6964 
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Email: letsgetfreepa@letsgetfreepa
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