On August 17th, 2019, Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, New York will open the exhibit, Women and Incarceration, featuring The Cloth Book, co-created by Maureen McNeil and Luz Minerva Muniz about Luz’s experience of solitary confinement in the mid-1960’s at the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY. The Hudson Training School was once the largest detention center for girls in the United States. Luz will also be showing Life Wall, a photo-based quilt about important benchmarks in her life after the Training School.
Artist/educator Maureen McNeil says “This story of Luz Minerva Muniz’s solitary confinement is told here for the first time in fifty-five years, releasing the shame, guilt, and anger that destroyed her life as a teenager”.
Discussing the origins of the Cloth Project, McNeil explains: “In 2017, I was introduced to Luz Minerva Muniz by Tracy Huling, Founder/Director of Prison Public Memory Project. Huling had found that some formerly incarcerated women found it too painful to participate in oral histories and asked if I would be interested in engaging Luz in an art-based project about her time at the Training School for Girls. Luz was 16 when she was sentenced in 1964. Two years later, she was bussed back to NYC, and became homeless in Central Park. “
For a year and a half, Luz (now 70) and Maureen met every week to share a meal, visit a museum and discuss art and Luz’s life. Slowly, Luz gained the courage to remember the ‘lost girl’ as she called herself. Visiting a Louise Bourgeois exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Manhattan inspired them to create a cloth book to tell Luz’s story of surviving 28 days in solitary confinement for swearing.
The Women and Incarceration exhibit will also feature two solo shows: "The Bedroom Project", photographs by Sara Bennett and "Incarcerated, Interior Views," photographs by Olivia Gay. The public is invited to the exhibit’s opening reception on Saturday, August 17th, 5 pm – 7 pm. For more information, visit davisortongallery.com.