Performing Statistics

9 Jan 2017 2016 OUTDOOR

Free newspaper created by incarcerated teens, artists, lawyers, and many others.

Featuring: Featuring art by teens at the Richmond Detention Center, with support from Terry Brown, Kate Deciccio, Catherine Komp, Molly Fair, Gina Lyles, Malena Magnolia, and Mark Strandquist

Curated by

Mark Strandquist

Presented by

ART 180 and Legal Aid Justice Center


Performing Statistics connects incarcerated teens in Richmond, Virginia with artists, advocates, police departments, and many others to create public art and advocacy projects that help transform Virginia’s juvenile justice system. In the past year, incarcerated teens created an exhibition and training manuals used to train every police officer in Richmond (700 active duty officers), seen by tens of thousands of people in schools, libraries, museums, city streets and public places across Virginia.

Every year in Virginia more than 10,000 kids are locked up. While it costs $135,000 to incarcerate one youth for a year, close to 75 percent of incarcerated teens are rearrested within three years.

#PRISONSDONTWORK. Not for our youth, not for our families, not for public safety, and not for taxpayers.

By connecting non-traditional allies through process-based art forms and immersive and interactive exhibits/publications (that go well beyond traditional art spaces), we can destroy stereotypes, build community power, and engage with these complex and divisive issues. By listening first to the youth most affected we can make a more just, whole, and equitable world.


Mark Strandquist has spent years collaborating with incarcerated men, women, teens, and those in re-entry to create public art and advocacy projects. At the core of his practice is the belief that those most impacted by the criminal justice system are the experts that society needs to listen to. By connecting those directly affected with a multitude of community experts and political stakeholders, we can utilize art to create change on personal and systemic levels.

His projects range from working with incarcerated youth to train the entire Richmond Police Department; to connecting incarcerated men and women with thousands of people through interactive public art installation; to creating teams of lawyers, artists, and formerly incarcerated individuals to help facilitate free legal clinics that have cleared the records of thousands of individuals.

His projects have received multiple awards, fellowships, national residencies, and reached wide audiences through media outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, and VICE.