SkyART, Weinberg/Newton Gallery and Arts + Public Life present Can you see me?, a collaborative three-part exhibition exploring the impact incarceration has on young people. Across three galleries, artwork by incarcerated young people, contemporary artists, and arts-justice organizations will explore themes of ascendance, innocence and freedom. The exhibition aims to not only highlight the humanity and potential of young people affected by the juvenile justice system, but to create new aspirational possibilities for how art can be a tool of justice and healing. Extensive public programming will bring together diverse audiences and practitioners to create important dialogue and accessibility for new communities.

Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with and contribute to the exhibition, and will leave with a lasting impression of humanity in place of criminality, perseverance in place of violence, and hope in place of despair.

Featured artists

Currently and formerly incarcerated youth artists in SkyART‘s Just-Us program

Jim Duignan

Kirsten Leenars w/ Circles & Ciphers

Incarcerated authors from Contextos

Children from Arte Pro

Alejandro T. Acierto

Ebony G. Patterson

Cheryl Pope

Dashawn Yarborough

Scheherazade Tillet w/ A Long Walk Home

Luvuyo Equiano Nyawose

The South Side Home Movie Project (SSHMP)

Brooklyn Ryan

Jada Bovia

Shukurah Floyd

Girls Behind The Lens

Arinique Allen

Basia Brown & Spanish Brown

Andrea Coleman

Guillermo “Junior” Diaz & Crystal “Nikki” Diaz

Jenny Perez

Michael Rangel

Jennifer Torwudzo-Stroh

Ellen Tritschler

Can you see me? is curated by Devon VanHouten-Maldonado, SkyART’s Director of Programs and Kasia Houlihan, Director of Weinberg/Newton Gallery. Independent curator Rikki Byrd serves as a Curatorial Advisor for the exhibition.

● The primary Can you see me? exhibition at Weinberg/Newton Gallery (688 N. Milwaukee Ave.) will open on Oct. 14 and will remain on view until Dec. 17, 2022

● Scheherazade Tillet's FREEDOM SPACE at Arts + Public Life (301 E Garfield Boulevard) will open on Oct. 21 and remain on view until Dec. 16, 2022

● SkyART's (3026 S. 91st St.) installment of Can you see me? Envisioning the future at their flagship studio space in South Chicago will be on view from Oct. 28 until Dec. 17, 2022

A Panel discussion on youth incarceration, alternatives, and effects on families and communities will take place at Weinberg/Newton Gallery on November 4, 2022 from 5:30 to 7:00pm with special guest speakers Ally Bain, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Illinois; Jakki Alexander, Assistant Superintendent of Programs, IYC Warrenville - Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, and Emony Tate, a community organizer and youth services provider with Blocks Together, Chicago; plus Denzel Burke and Destine Phillips, co-founders of R.E.A.L Youth Initiative with lived experiences of incarceration as a juvenile.

A Panel discussion on the healing power of art and effects of trauma on young people will take place at Weinberg/Newton Gallery on November 11, 2022 from 5:30 to 7:00pm with special guest speakers SkyART founder, CEO and art therapist, Sarah Ward (ATR); clinical social worker, therapist and professor at UChicago's Crown School of Social Work specializing in youth development and trauma, John Sykes (MSW, LCSW), and Deputy Executive Director of Zealous and formerly incarcerated artist, Demetrius Titus.

A Panel discussion about youth incarceration in the Americas will take place at Weinberg/Newton Gallery on November 17, 2022 from 5:30 to 7:00pm with special guest speakers Luz Pro, Founder of Arte Pro, an organization that works with children born in incarceration in Mexico; Eduardo Enrique Navarrete Murcia, a formerly incarcerated educator and writer who works with Contextos, an organization that works with incarcerated authors in El Salvador and Chicago, and and Juan Carlos Quirarte who established the first safehouse for youth escaping organized crime in Mexico and has led many other projects focusing on prevention and reentry from incarceration.

The world premier of A Letter to the City: “jail is not my home” by artist Kirsten Leenars and Circles & Ciphers, followed by a panel discussion with the artists, will take place at Weinberg/Newton Gallery on December 9, 2022 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The documentary A Letter to the City: “Jail is not my home” is shaped by letters written by young people who are incarcerated, and weaves these deeply personal stories through performative actions and image making into our social fabric. The documentary reflects on the ways in which the prison-industrial complex affects individuals, families, communities, and the city.

School and community groups are encouraged to schedule field trips with Lisa Lindvay (lisa@weinbergnewtongallery.com), Education Coordinator at Weinberg/Newton Gallery. Special programming for youth will be scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. SkyART and/or Weinberg/Newton Gallery may be able to assist with transportation.

Can you see me? is generously supported by the the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Polk Brothers Foundation, the Field Foundation, the Weinberg/Newton Family Foundation, Zealous, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) and as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

For media and press inquiries please contact Alyssa Krueger (alyssak@carolfoxassociates.com).