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Martín Ramírez at DeWitt State Hospital with Dr. Tarmo Pasto ((C) the Estate of Martín Ramírez, image courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York)

The inaugural exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles surveys the work of Martín Ramírez, a Mexican immigrant who spent the last 30 years of his life detained in California psychiatric hospitals, diagnosed — erroneously most likely — with schizophrenia. During this period, he produced a visionary body of drawings, signs of resistance against an unsympathetic and unjust correctional system.

This show provides the backdrop for a discussion at the ICA on the purposes, challenges, and benefits of arts programs for prisoners. Panelists include Kaile Shilling, the executive director of the Arts for Incarcerated Youth NetworkFabian Debora, founder of La Clase Art Academy, which provides arts access for individuals affected by gang violence; activist and producer Cristina Pacheco; and artist Maria Gaspar, whose 96 Acres Project involved interventions at the Cook County Jail in Chicago. These artists and activists will be able to share their first-hand experiences, highlighting the profound effects that arts education can have on the lives of prisoners.

When: Wednesday, October 18, 7–9pm
Where: The Institute of Contemporary Art (1717 E. 7th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info here.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.