The day job occasionally requires me to spend some time in jail. For research purposes only, I assure you. Anyway, you learn lots of interesting things about human nature when you observe folks that are incarcerated. Some of those things I'd rather not know, but others are a little more heartening. I spent some time in Huntsville recently, touring a facility where prisoners were allowed to have art studios and could sell their wares to the public. For the most part (nude airbrushed mermaids notwithstanding), the art was impressive. Occasionally, it was moving. The stoic warden showing us around was visibly proud of that workshop area and the prisoners who had space in it. Their art gave them something to look forward to. It helped measurably with rehabilitation. It noticeably decreased behavioral problems. In short, it was a win-win situation. There's a local charity, Resolana, that provides art programming for women incarcerated in Dallas County and Dawson State Jails, and you have to imagine that the creative outlet there both inspires and gives hope to those who participate. This year's Art Conspiracy 5 benefits Resolana, so you can feel good about that, as well as about your one-of-a-kind art purchase. You'll be bidding on 18-by-18-inch plywood canvases decorated by local artists onsite at 511 W. Commerce St. just hours before the event begins at 7 p.m. Art Conspiracy 5 also features performances by Telegraph Canyon, The Crash That Took Me, The Boom Boom Box and RTB2, plus video installations by Edward Ruiz and the formidable MC talents of one Paul Slavens. Admission is $10, and tickets may be purchased online at artconspiracy.org.
Sat., Dec. 12, 7 p.m., 2009