California Coalition for Women Prisoners announces benefit auction
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California Coalition for Women Prisoners announces benefit auction
Eve Fowler, War And Order, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 18 in (182.88 x 45.72 cm). Courtesy of Mier Gallery, Los Angeles. Signed on verso. Estimate $8,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- California Coalition for Women Prisoners today announces a benefit auction in partnership with online auction house Paddle8 and L.A. gallery Blum & Poe to raise funds for the organization’s mission to combat mass incarceration. The sale includes artworks by more than 40 artists, including works by Carroll Dunham, Janiva Ellis, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Torey Thornton, and Michael Williams, live to bidders worldwide August 15 – 29 exclusively on Paddle8.

The launch event for the 2018 CCWP Benefit Auction will be Saturday, August 18, 7-10pm at Blum & Poe (2727 La Cienega). This event is open to the public and will showcase the donated artworks, celebrate CCWP’s efforts, and educate about the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). The works may also be viewed at the gallery by appointment only August 16 and 17.

“The formation of CCWP was birthed out of fear for our lives,” says L.A. chapter member Romarilyn Ralston. Founded in 1995, CCWP -- a volunteer-led social justice group, with members inside and outside of prison -- challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).

Statistics for people in California’s women’s prisons are alarming. Nearly two thirds are serving time for non-violent convictions. A majority of those convicted for so-called “violent crimes” are survivors of domestic violence. The population in California’s women’s prisons has soared to 160% capacity. The suicide rate at the California Institution for Women state prison is almost five times the national average. “The culture of prison is so dehumanizing,” says Colby Lenz, a statewide CCWP organizer. “Prisons only worsen the social problems we pretend they will fix. We need to transform how we deal with poverty, trauma and violence. But in the meantime, we want to help people survive.”

The funds raised from this project will help uplift CCWP’s work: visiting California’s prisons as legal and healthcare advocates, drafting and amplifying legislation to support the survival and release of prisoners, and creating paid work opportunities for formerly incarcerated people. Incarcerated people “face a multitude of life threatening conditions,” says award-winning poet Claudia Rankine. “The work of CCWP disrupts the toxic intercession of punishment, racism, misogyny and homophobia that often cause debilitating harm.”

CCWP’s growing network of supporters, including many associated with the arts, helped create this benefit auction to mobilize their communities. “Art-making has always and continues to be central to movement-building: it brings us hope; it serves as medicine; it imagines alternate futures,” says CCWP member and one of the benefit auction organizers, writer Cyrus Dunham. “This is as an opportunity to support the movement to dismantle the PIC and to sustain the leadership of those most impacted by its violence.”" target="_blank"> To bid on artwork in the auction, please visit on August 15th.

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