People with conviction histories face stigma when released from prison. And that stigma contributes to high rates of recidivism. That’s one of the reasons social practice artist Gregory Sale and many collaborators launched Future IDs, which offers people an opportunity to reflect on the American criminal justice system and second chances for people who’ve been in prison.

The project is created by and with people who have conviction histories, who design artworks based on their prison-issued IDs. Sale’s hope is that their voices and visions for the future are amplified—and that visitors to Future IDs events are able to connect in a more meaningful way to people with conviction histories.

“I am in awe of the personal, transformative risks these key collaborators and contributors are taking for this project,” says Sale. “They have allowed their images and words to appear in this exhibition and in videos and are participating in our public programs. They have come to trust the open, creative process and be vulnerable, putting themselves on display. Without this willingness, the work would not have been possible.”

Future IDs’ workshops, exhibitions, and public programs have been held across California since 2016. For the last year Alcatraz, once one of the most notorious federal prisons in the United States and now a national park, served as a powerful site for the project. Future IDs at Alcatraz included community programs, a network of community partnerships, and an exhibition that ran from July through October. It was presented in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Art in the Parks program.

Written by staff of Public Art Review.

Public Art Review issue 59Featured as part of Projects We Love in Public Art Review #59.