MSU’s Broad Art Museum opens new art exhibits highlighting societal effects of mass incarceration


The Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University wants to draw attention to the effects of incarceration on society through six new art exhibitions.

The exhibits tell the stories of incarcerated and former incarcerated persons. At any given time in the United States, there are more than two million people incarcerated or in detention centers.

And in Michigan, there are over 30,000 people currently in prison. Of these people, more than 3,000 are serving some form of solitary confinement.

Monica Ramirez-Montagut is the director of the MSU Broad Art Museum. She wants to draw attention to why the United States has the highest number of people in prison in the world.

“There is really very little awareness of what is happening in the facilities and also of the challenges of returning citizens. There are a lot of challenges that we also ignore as a society. “

She explains that one of the exhibits is based on the story of Bobby Jean Johnson, who spent nearly 40 years in prison after being forced by police to confess to murder.

“She’s a black queen from a game of chess. And it’s kind of like paying homage to the story of someone who was, you know, innocent when they were put in jail.

Montagut says the exhibits focus on topics such as length of sentences and overcrowding in Michigan prisons, the impact of incarceration on women, and the dangers of COVID-19 among inmates.

The exhibitions are open to the public until the end of the year.


William E. Bennett