Sept 18 & 19: Opening Reception & Wapato Roundtable

Video Still, 2015

ERNEST, Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, video still, 2015, made in residence at c3:initiative

Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility
A project by ERNEST

September 18–November 22, 2015
Gallery Hours: Fri–Sun, noon–5pm at c3:initiative

Opening Reception
Friday, September 18, 6:30-9:30pm
c3:initiative | 7326 N. Chicago Avenue, Portland 97203

Visitors are invited to join c3:initiative and the artists from ERNEST in marking the opening of Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility. Complimentary drinks and light refreshments will be served.

Wapato Roundtable
Saturday, September 19, 11:00am-1:00pm
St. Johns Community Center | 8427 N Central Street, Portland 97203

The roundtable component of Demos provides a platform for exploration, open conversation, and a broadened investigation of themes relating to the empty jail facility, both locally and nationally. The schedule includes a panel discussion with Emanuel Price, Melissa Salazar, and Yaelle Amir and a community meal and conversation.
This event is free and open to the public; space is limited.
RSVP required:

Reading Group: The New Jim Crow | Wednesdays, October 7, 14, 21, 7:00-8:30pm
Stories in Movement | Saturday, November 7, 5:00pm
No Thank You Democracy, The politics of non-participation | Sunday, November 22, 4:30pm

c3:initiative presents Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, a multi-part art project by Bay Area working-group, ERNEST. Demos is the culmination of ERNEST’s two-year artist residency at c3.

While in residence at c3:initiative, ERNEST learned about Wapato Correctional Facility, a jail located fifteen minutes from Downtown St. Johns, Portland, that has sat empty since it was built in 2004. Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility probes the many concerns that the vacant jail suggests: breakdowns in democracy, prevailing power structures and others. The project’s title takes its meaning from various interpretations of the word “demos”. The Greek word “demos” (pronounced “day-moss”), refers to the “village” or “people.” In English, “demo”, is used as a shorthand for “demonstration”, as reference to the “demo mix-tape”, or as the vernacular for “demolition”. ERNEST thus uses “demos” to refer to its interest in keeping their methods experimental and provisional, while creating opportunities for local participatory engagement.

Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility will comprise a video, publication, limited edition print and a roundtable event.  Acting as a conjuror of sorts, the character of Coyote leads the video component of Demos, transforming the specific architecture, history and politics of Wapato Jail into a platform for conversation and collaboration. The project’s publication is created in collaboration with Portland art press, Container Corps, and includes a collection of essays, artworks, research, and primary documents. Its contents are both specific to Wapato Correctional Facility, and related to general issues of incarceration, participatory citizenship, and the role of art in social justice and storytelling. The roundtable component of Demos will provide a platform for exploration, open conversation, and a broadened investigation of themes relating to the empty jail facility, both locally and nationally.


ERNEST is a working-group comprised of a flexible roster. Shifting the focus away from the individual identities of the artists, ERNEST provides a democratic means for artists to make work that challenges dominant ideas about site, body, and power.

c3:initiative is a nonprofit art organization dedicated to process-based exploration. Based in Portland, Oregon, c3 connects creators and communities through three distinct residency programs, a studio incubator initiative, and integrative exhibition and public programming.

c3 is committed to creating partnerships, facilitating artistic exchange, and developing educational opportunities by cultivating dialogue amongst various communities.