FROM THE EDITOR
A Publication of the State Bar of Arizona
LISA BORMASTER FONTES
ASHLEY KASARJIAN, CHAIR
(Toll-free outside Maricopa County)
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VOLUME 52, NO. 2
DAVID H. BENTON
YUSRA B. BOKHARI
HON. THEODORE CAMPAGNOLO
PAUL F. DOWDELL
HON. RANDALL M. HO WE
MELISSA IYER JULIAN
KARA L. KLIMA
J. SONYE T TA LAWRENCE
HON. WEND Y S. MORTON
EMILY K. POKORA
MARK D. SAMSON
LACEY STOVER GARD
MICHAEL F. VALENZUELA
For at least the past decade, art and a commitment to it have
been hallmarks of this magazine, which once again is about to launch
our annual Arts Competition (see page 25). How deeply felt is that
commitment? Well …
In an upcoming issue, we will examine the viewpoints of lawyers
who advocate for arts in society and in schools.
And over the past year, I’ve seen (and covered) the nexus between
art and law as they intersect in unique ways. It’s been especially visible
though the discussion of the value of arts education in prisons—
whether via an ASU student club committed to prison education
( http://tinyurl.com/prison-education-asu), or via a unique Boston
art-gallery exhibition ( http://tinyurl.com/prison-arts-ica), or via
one in downtown Phoenix ( http://tinyurl.com/art-convicted).
But I started to wonder: What’s up with this prison–art unity?
Why have so many people found that relationship to be effective?
And more specifically, does my own
art–law–prison Venn diagram have deeper,
odder roots? After all, the law as a subject of
study has many pathways. What leads me and
others to wonder about the power of art to
I was musing on that when I recalled, in a
queasy moment, a painting that hung in my
childhood home. It was a portrait of a clown.
(Trigger warning: He’s at the left.)
For most people, that subject matter would be
enough to raise the oddness meter. But it gets
odder, for that artwork had been painted by an
inmate at a maximum-security prison. How it
found its way to a wall in our entryway (yup) is
an incarceration tale.
My dad, for most of his work-life, was a New
York State correctional officer (formerly prison
guard). As the years went on, Green Haven
Prison decided to hold annual inmate art sales.
I never asked my father if he knew the inmate
who painted the clown. But for whatever reason, the sad fellow
appealed to him, and he made an art purchase.
Everyone else in the family was less than enchanted by the haunting visage. Eventually, when the wall was painted, the art piece ended
up in the basement—to our relief.
One evening, though, after dinner, a few of us kidded our
dad about the piece, and someone mentioned that a friend or
distant family member had never liked the painting. Surprised
and dismissive of that person’s evident lack of taste, he sprang
from his chair and raced to the basement. The sound of tumbled
boxes was followed by his reappearance, proudly holding the
sad jester aloft. In the moment it took us to realize our tactical
error, he had re-hung the piece in its place of honor. The power
My dad died a number of years ago, but I occasionally consider retrieving that piece to hang in our own home. The dismay
of our daughters might be worth the effort.
November 2 is the opening of our annual arts competition.
All Arizona-admitted attorneys—formerly incarcerated or not—
are free to submit.
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Art and a jester