Wapato Jail Coyotes


Handsome all!!  Wapato Jail Coyote line-up:

Bette Longden, Sylvester Miranda, Kaiah Boerman, Wyatt Dingman, Jen Vaughn, Dawn Rostad, Bill Washburn, Amy Frey, Michelle Wood, Shir Grisanti, Erin Mallea, Anna Weston, Erika Kuchenmeister, Joshua Leslie, Devan Anthony, Scott Osgood, Karin Obaid, Gwen Courtney, Welly Fletcher, Hannah Ireland, George Pfau, Amanda Curreri, Christine Toth, Gary Wiseman, Shalene Murphy, Adrian Eberstein, Brenton Bird, and Kelly Boerman


New Collaborator: Pete Brook

TOBERND/YOURHILLA generative logo assigned to Prison Photography blog

Over a recent dinner meeting in SF’s Outer Richmond we confirmed: ERNEST will collaborate with Pete Brook on the Wapato: Demos publication. Pete’s work is rigorous, heart felt, and we’re excited to see what he comes up with in terms of an essay within the Wapato publication. His website, Prison Photography, is the best introduction to him and his work with prisons.

He writes for WIRED’s  Raw File as well as contributes to Salon‘s BagNewsNotes, which is the only website dedicated solely to visual politics and the analysis of news images.

Here’s a recording of a recent talk, part of a series on FAILURE, that Pete gave: Mass Incarceration, a Systemwide Failure.

NYT interview and slide show with Pete: Focusing on Prison Photography.

PNCA’s Watershed Press & ERNEST

Abra Ancliffe, PNCA Printmaking Faculty, at work in the PNCA printshop.

As the 2015 school year starts in, we’re prepping images for a print edition that we’ll be making in collaboration with Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Watershed Press. c3 initiave partnered ERNEST with Watershed and we’re looking forward to working with PNCA’s Printmaking faculty and students on a multi-layered print utilizing lithography, screenprinting, and polymer plate letterpress. There will soon be some Skype meetings with the Collaborative Projects grad class and a visit to work on-site with the crew sometime around March or April. Watershed’s most recent collaboration was with assume vivid astro focus’ Eli Subrack and they turned out some incredible screenprints with digital underlayers.



ERNEST contributes to ‘Hour After’

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January 15, 5-8pm
“Join us after work for a chat in the warmth of amber lights, a happy hour special, and the release of “The Hour After Reader” – a 28 page, limited edition booklet created by Carrie Hott, printed by Colpa Press and supported by Interface Gallery.

The reader includes some images of the research that helped to inform the work created in the exhibition, as well as selections and contributions from other local and beyond after-hours workers including Luca Antonucci, BONANZA, Sofía Córdova, Aurora Crispin, ERNEST, Ian Dolton-Thornton,Brett Goodroad, Pablo Guardiola, Emily Hunt, Cybele Lyle, Martin Machado, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Emma Spertus, Stairwell’s, Laura Steenberge, and Cassie Thornton.”

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Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Wapato Jail Video Shoot

Thank you to our team of volunteers throughout the weekend and the crew of coyotes from Portland-at-large on Saturday. Thanks to PNCA’s Watershed faculty. Thank you to Dan Gilsdorf, newest ERNEST, and thank you to the owl. Thank you to Cruz and Sketch and their handler, Paula. Thank you c3 for a packed but successful video shoot weekend at Wapato. Now here’s to editing all the footage!

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We Need You!

Be a Coyote at an Empty Jail

Saturday , December 13 , 1-4pm

Artist group ERNEST needs your help for a video shoot we are doing at Northwest Portland’s completely empty jail. ERNEST is designing a shot in which a group of approximately 40 people/coyotes are moving through the jail. Masks will be provided and yours to keep after the shoot.

Arrive at 1pm . Late arrivals cannot be accommodated. A jail tour will happen between 1:30 and 2pm.  Shooting will be from 2-3:30pm.

Please RSVP, with your name, contact info, and number of participants to:

For more information about ERNEST and their partnership with c3:Initiative in St. John’s, please visit c3:Initiative.

The Marshall Project

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The Marshall Project has just launched their site.  Led by former NYT executive editor, Bill Keller, the organization is aimed at reporting on the under represented in the American criminal justice system. Signed up for the newsletter to get a sense of what they’ll be covering. So far, so good.

Here is their Mission Statement from the website:



The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization founded on two simple ideas:

1) There is a pressing national need for high-quality journalism about the American criminal justice system. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Spiraling costs, inhumane prison conditions, controversial drug laws, and concerns about systemic racial bias have contributed to a growing bipartisan consensus that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.

The recent disruption in traditional media means that fewer institutions have the resources to take on complex issues such as criminal justice. The Marshall Project stands out against this landscape by investing in journalism on all aspects of our justice system. Our work will be shaped by accuracy, fairness, independence, and impartiality, with an emphasis on stories that have been underreported or misunderstood. We will partner with a broad array of media organizations to magnify our message, and our innovative website will serve as a dynamic hub for the most significant news and comment from the world of criminal justice.

2) With the growing awareness of the system’s failings, now is an opportune moment to amplify the national conversation about criminal justice.

We believe that storytelling can be a powerful agent of social change. Our mission is to raise public awareness around issues of criminal justice and the possibility for reform. But while we are nonpartisan, we are not neutral. Our hope is that by bringing transparency to the systemic problems that plague our courts and prisons, we can help stimulate a national conversation about how best to reform our system of crime and punishment.

Wapato Inquiry at St. John’s Farmers Market


Saturday, October 4, St. Johns Farmers Market
ERNEST set up shop at the community table and spent the morning having conversations with market-goers to get a pulse about Wapato. Responses ranged from frustration, creative solutions, history lessons on the etymology of the site’s name, and even primary experiences at the site. We learned that beyond being home for local residents and businesses, St. John’s serves as an important community hub for residents “off-the-grid” further out along Route 30 and beyond. We met a number of people that travel 45 minutes (one-way) to come to the Saturday market and for other St. John’s amenities. We’re currently compiling the data from our surveys and incorporating it in the forthcoming publication.

Here’s a diagram from Richard, now retired, who was a contractor who laid the foundation at the jail:

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And the T-shirts? Here’s a close-up. We made plenty and they’ll be available at the big event (Spring 2015). If you want one before then, email us. XS, S, M, L, XL $12 each + shipping


 Fun video about foraging for river clams and… wapatos

Wapato Jail


ERNEST’s work creates a range of vantage points from which the public is invited to experience and discuss the amplitude of seemingly unsolvable national problems and themes: failed democracy and bureaucracy, the American prison system, power structures, socio-political ecosystems, community empowerment, and collaboration among others.

As a collective, ERNEST is a microcosm of such concerns. ERNEST negotiates themes of interpersonal agency, autonomy, and solidarity in its composition and processes. The group brings the strengths of its individual members as well as developed insight into navigating collective exchange.

Currently, ERNEST and c3:initiative are prompting conversation examining Wapato Jail in Multnomah County OR, a collective failure of democracy. Activating the site and its history, ERNEST will be making a three-part artwork creating opportunities for engagement that challenge

The Wapato project will focus on making the jail more locally visible and bring its many valences out into the open. ERNEST’s artwork will be comprised of a video, publication, and symposium of participatory events. The symposium is tentatively scheduled for May 2015 in Portland OR, with further details to be announced via the c3:initiative website.









Ask the Cards

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June 1–8, 2014
ERNEST is at c3 initiative’s Stevenson, WA outpost for a week of research and development working out the details of this unruly subject that is Wapato Correctional Facility. Site visits, library archives, art events, waterfall and gorge visits, birthdays (Elan, George, & Hannah’s), an ancient tattoo, and, of course, medicine cards.

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