Thursday, Feb 25, 5 PM

Inter[SECTOR]: Decarceration & the Arts with Syrita Steib (Operation Restoration)

Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
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Join us for the next conversation in our Inter[SECTOR]: Decarceration and the Arts series on Facebook Live, featuring Jo Kreiter (Artistic Director of Flyaway Productions), and Syrita Steib, criminal justice advocate and Executive Director and Cofounder of Operation Restoration. The discussion will explore the intersections between art, artists ,and activists in the work to advocate for those impacted by mass incarceration through Steib's own advocacy work, the implications of her recent presidential pardon, and her role as co-curator of the Per(Sister) exhibition formerly at Tulane’s Newcomb Art Museum. The conversation will be moderated by joined by Kaisas Peguero, CAC’s Program Manager. About Jo Kreiter Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco-based choreographer and site artist with a background in political science. Through dance she engages imagination, physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. She founded her company, Flyaway Productions, in 1996. Flyaway Productions is an apparatus-based dance company that advances social issues in the public realm and explores the range and power of female physicality. Under Kreiter’s artistic direction, Flyaway creates dances on both architectural and fabricated steel objects, with dancers suspended anywhere from 2 to 100 feet in the air. The company creates a sense of spectacle to make a lasting impression with an audience, striving for the right balance of awe, provocation, and daring. Kreiter’s tools include community collaboration, a masterful use of place, a feminist lens and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity. About Syrita Steib As Founder and Executive Director of Operation Restoration, Syrita Steib creates opportunities for formerly incarcerated women, eradicating the roadblocks she faced when returning to society after incarceration. After serving nearly 10 years in prison, she was released into a community vastly different than the one she left. Despite her academic accomplishments while incarcerated, Syrita was denied admission at the University of New Orleans due to the criminal history question. She reapplied, unchecked the box, was granted admission, and went on to earn her B.S. from Louisiana State University. Steib wrote and advocated for Louisiana Act 276, which prohibits public post-secondary institutions from asking questions relating to criminal history for purposes of admissions. Syrita has continued to work with advocates on the ground in five states to pass legislation to ban the box in college admissions. Syrita has also helped draft and pass legislation in other states to support currently and formerly incarcerated women, including Louisiana. As a policy consultant for Cut50’s Dignity for Incarcerated Women campaign, she worked tirelessly on the passage of the First Step Act. Syrita regularly speaks at conferences across the nation about the experiences of incarcerated women. She has served as co-chair of the healthy families committee for New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s transition team; was appointed to the Executive Board for Dillard University's new Center for Racial Justice; was appointed by the governor to the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment oversight council; and was the vice chair of the Louisiana Task Force on Women’s Incarceration. She also helped create and was featured in the Newcomb Art Museum’s Per (Sister) exhibit, which shared the stories of currently and formerly incarcerated women. Syrita was selected to participate in the 2019-2020 Unlocked Futures cohort and is a 2020 recipient of the Rubinger Fellowship. About Decarceration and the Arts: Decarceration and the Arts is an ongoing conversation series with San Francisco-based artist Jo Kreiter, Artist Director of Flyaway Productions and creator of the "The Wait Room", a spectacular aerial work that depicts the trauma and challenges faced by families with incarcerated loved ones, which will be presented at the CAC in 2021. In an effort to build community dialogue ahead of the performance, Jo engages with local and national artists and activists on the front lines of ending mass incarceration.