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Justice Forum: Art as a Practice of Freedom

Public Humanities, Justice Forum

dateFebruary 7, 2024 timeWednesday, 6:15pm EST location Casa Hispanica, Room 201, Columbia University locationVirtual Event
  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Department of Classics
  • Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Department of Music
  • Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life
  • Tamer Center for Social Enterprise
  • Sing Sing Prison Museum
  • Justice-in-Education
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Sketchbook page with handwriting and color swatches

Kristina Binova, Shedrick Blackwell, Amaury Bonilla, Ivan Calaff, and Mia Ruyter in conversation

"How does art heal, educate, and liberate in a carceral setting? The friendship, joy, and community that happen through creative expression produce a liberatory space. Education and healing are necessary to free people who are incarcerated and all of us from the systems in society that lead to the dystopia of mass incarceration."

This workshop involves art creation, reflection, and a discussion on practice.


Kristina Bivona is an artist and scholar living in Philadelphia, PA. She has been practicing art and radical politics for over twenty years. Bivona works in Brooklyn, NY, where she co-established a printshop for prison diversion with Recess | Assembly. Her personal printmaking practice takes the form of artist pop-up books about sex work and incarceration, and she is studying for her doctorate in education at Columbia University.

Mia Ruyter is an artist and educator who coordinates educational programming at Rikers Island for the Justice-in-Education Initiative. She is studying for her doctorate in art education at Columbia University.

Shedrick Blackwell is a Board Member of the Carnegie Hall Musical Connections Advisory Committee. A Harlem native Returning Citizen, and Rehabilitation-Through-the-Arts (RTA) alumnus received his AA in Liberal Arts through the Bard Prison Initiative (2023) and is an accomplished percussionist and actor engaged in the project of prison abolition.

Amaury Bonilla is a Re-entry Counselor at Exodus Transitional Community. A Returning Citizen and Rehabilitation-Through-the-Arts (RTA) alumnus, the Bronx-born-and-raised Bonilla came to the arts as a painter and an actor during his long years of incarceration. More recently, he has been expanding his art to include poetry, music, and storytelling. He is the very proud father to a daughter.


Carlos Ivan Calaff is a Research Analyst and Reentry Coordinator at the Center for Justice and Justice-in-Education Program at Columbia University. In 2018, he was released from Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. He is currently studying at the School for Professional Studies at Columbia University. He is a proud Puerto Rican father of two boys, a lifelong Bronx native, an unapologetic Knicks fan, and a musician.