Augustana students to perform thought-provoking monologues of women in prison

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Continuing a partnership between the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art and the Figge Art Museum to host the Juvenile in Justice project by photographer Richard Ross, Augustana students will perform Any One of Us: Words from Prison on Thursday, February 19 at 7 p.m. in the Figge Art Museum.

These stories are written by women moving toward healing and change as they use their voices to impact policy, laws and treatment of incarcerated women. Any One of Us is a groundbreaking collection of monologues written by more than 50 incarcerated or formerly incarcerated women in the United States, written in creative writing workshops led by Eve Ensler (creator of The Vagina Monologues). They are a collection of fierce, honest stories written by women who are moving toward healing, understanding and change, with the ultimate goal of using their voices to impact policy, laws and treatment of incarcerated women. Donations will be accepted at the performance to benefit Iowa Legal Aid and Prairie State Legal Services.

The Figge Museum’s exhibition of Girls in Justice by Richard Ross will provide the backdrop for this event. The exhibit focuses specifically on girls in the prison system. Compared with boys and young men, young women in custody report nearly two times the rate of prior physical abuse, four times the rate of prior sex abuse, and suicide attempts at twice the rate as boys. 

For both exhibitions, Juvenile in Justice and Girls in Justice, Richard Ross visited many different juvenile detention facilities across the United States, photographing young prisoners and recording their stories. Both exhibitions and the performance of Any One of Us spark discussion about the underlying social systems that propagate the treatment of female and juvenile prisoners.

Sophomore Keila Saucedo pointed out that the monologues in Any One of Us force us to ask the bigger questions. “It is important to constantly question our surroundings and the way we, as a people, are being treated by our government,” she said. 

“Why are privately owned prisons allowed? Why are there more people of color in jail? Why does a drug possession warrant more jail time than a violent sexual assault?” She continued, “These are the questions I want people to think about, and I hope Any One of Us helps our community do that.”

The partnership between Augustana and the Figge will continue with the Juvenile In Justice exhibition in the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art. The opening reception is March 13 at 4 p.m. in the Centennial Hall gallery.

These exhibits were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal Agency.