15:00 PM

'I Heart Justice' art exhibition, Bayou Theater performance to highlight social injustices


Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating at the state and local levels for fair, equitable laws, has a history of working with Texas artists to develop a collection of posters that shine a light on social justice issues related to Appleseed’s specific policy areas. The result of their collaboration, referred to as “I Heart Justice,”  is an exhibition of 15 posters, opening Monday, Sept. 11 at University of Houston-Clear Lake’s main Art Gallery. The opening reception will take place Saturday, Sept. 30 from 5-7 p.m.

The Art Gallery’s opening event is adjacent to a groundbreaking, multi-media theater production entitled, “Lyrics from Lockdown” to take place in the Bayou Theater at 7:30 p.m. the same evening. The performance aims to expose legal and social inequities in prisons in America. Following the performance, there will be a panel discussion featuring the actors, community members, and Emmy Award-winning actor, writer, producer and director Rob Reiner.

Texas Appleseed’s focal policy issues are aimed at supporting children and families in Texas, as well as other vulnerable populations, through systemic reform work. The nonprofit works on nine broad areas, such as inequities in public schools, unfair eviction and housing matters, preventing financial abuse, and other related policy and legal problems.

“Each artist created a poster related to an issue that Appleseed works on that spoke to them personally,” said Texas Appleseed Executive Director Deborah Fowler. “Some are about criminal justice, or injustices in the educational system, or whatever the artist felt strongly about. We left it to each individual artist to pursue their own design.”

Fowler added that the exhibition at UH-Clear Lake’s Art Gallery is the first time the I Heart Justice collection had ever been shown outside Austin.

Among the artists in the exhibition is Edith Valle, whose depiction of monarch butterflies soaring out of the Statue of Liberty’s torch was inspired by the difficulties faced by immigrants in America. In her artist’s statement, Valle said that the monarch butterfly is a symbol of immigration due to its ability to move freely across borders, but in the current political climate, immigrants who are both documented and undocumented feel threatened by deportation and are stereotyped as criminals.

The Art Gallery is also showcasing an exhibition of the history of UHCL’s Transforming Lives by Degrees program, which started with the university’s founding in 1974. The program offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs to incarcerated students in Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities. 

For more information about UHCL’s Art Gallery, visit www.uhcl.edu/art-gallery/. To learn more about the Bayou Theater’s upcoming performances, or to reserve tickets to “Lyrics from Lockdown,” visit www.uhcl.edu/bayou-theater/