On the 50th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, Fortune launched an activation of “Homeroom” at MoMA PS1 with art, poetry and resources created by the artists and mentors in our Creative Arts program. The space is envisioned to ignite opportunities for connection, learning, ongoing creativity and collective change.
Jamie Maleszka, Fortune’s Director of Creative Arts, shares that “the point of [Homeroom]is really for continued community building, creativity and empowerment. The thesis that runs through the space is: ‘these are the faces, these are the voices of Fortune, this is who we are.’ It is all about the amplification and celebration of the Fortune community and individuals with justice history with dignity and radical love.”
The space features texts and artwork from the latest edition of Voices of Fortune as well as illustrations, photography and self-portraits from community members. Jamie underscores that the project was rooted in “collaborative dreaming” amongst Fortune artists, mentors, designers and MoMA PS1 curators.
Jamie hopes that by creating the space within MoMA PS1, the message of acceptance and love has an opportunity to reach a new audience that is not yet familiar with Fortune’s programs and community.
“This was a new chance to share Fortune and our journey and our joy with a more-than-likely unknowing audience. It occurred to me that this should not only be an opportunity to demonstrate the caliber and magnificence of the artists’ vision but that it also had to be a learning opportunity.”
The activation includes “We Are More Than A Label,” a zine created by Fortune community members that calls on exhibition visitors to learn more about the importance of humanizing language and offers alternative words to use when communicating about people affected by the justice system.
The activation features one more call to action: an opportunity to write postcards with messages of solidarity to people currently detained on Rikers Island. Jamie explains “the least we can do is send a note to say that they are not forgotten and to know that the world is watching.”
Ireal Jacobs, whose poem “In My Skin” is featured in the exhibit’s wall mural, was in awe at what the Arts community had accomplished.
Many of the featured artists and co-collaborators were able to view the activation before it was open for public attendance and marvel at the space they had created together.
Writer Erobos Abzu Lamashtu OKA “E”, noted “seeing this makes me hungrier for the sensation of the arts. I don’t think I’ve been a part of something like this before.”
Ryan “Blustone,” a Fortune artist and spoken word poet, eloquently stated how the exhibit was indicative of his personal progress and was struck by the significance of this partnership with an internationally renowned cultural institution like MoMA PS1.
He said, “First, [we felt] the pain of a DIN number, and now, we sign off on words blessing the walls in museums.”
Tickets are available now through October 11 to view Fortune’s activation of MoMA PS1’s Homeroom space.
Thank you to Kate Fowle, Elena Ketelsen González and MoMA PS1 for their partnership and commitment to amplifying the voices of artists with justice histories. Thank you also to Vincent DiVito, Laura Cerón Melo and Nick Evans for their allyship and artistry.