• The Union for Contemporary Art (map)
  • 2423 North 24th Street
  • Omaha, NE, 68110
  • United States

Join us for a public talk with the artist and activist Mark Strandquist on Saturday, April 28 at 2:30pm.

Strandquist is a cultural organizer who uses art as a vehicle for connecting diverse communities to build empathy and support for social justice movements. Deeply interested in criminal justice system reform at the individual and systemic levels, Strandquist is currently working with artists, incarcerated youth, and social justice advocates to train the entire police force of Richmond, Virginia where the artist lives and works. His related pop-up art exhibition is designed to educate publics about youth prisons, engage community members in conversation, and push for changes in legislation. Strandquist also works in Philadelphia, where his work is bringing residents together, including 1200 men and women with criminal records, to create the city's first Reentry Bill of Rights. Strandquist will discuss three projects that showcase different creative strategies for engaging people on all sides of criminal justice and impacting systemic change.

At the core of Mark Strandquist’s practice is the belief that those most impacted by the criminal justice system are the experts society needs to listen to, and that by connecting those directly affected with a multitude of community experts and political stakeholders, change can be created on personal and systemic levels. His projects work across many mediums, from collaborative virtual reality and filmmaking projects, to parades and pop-up exhibits that have connected the dreams, stories, and demands of those most impacted by the criminal justice system, with tens of thousands of people across the United States.

Strandquist has received multiple awards, fellowships, residencies, and reached wide audiences through press in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, NPR, PBS NewsHour, VICE, and many others. He currently co-directs The People’s Paper Co-op in Philadelphia, PA, and the Performing Statistics project in Richmond, VA. In 2016, he and his partner Courtney Bowles were awarded A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art and a Moving Walls Fellowship from Open Society Foundations to support the  Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank. Strandquist teaches Art and Activism as adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University and the International Center for Photography, and is a Professional Fellow at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.