Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out! Exhibit Opens Friday

ART 180, a Richmond based nonprofit working to give young people living in challenging circumstances the chance to express themselves through art, will open Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out!, a new exhibition this Friday. Designed as a mixed-reality experience by Performing Statistics (a project of ART 180), the new exhibit connects incarcerated teens with artists, legal experts, and policy advocates and challenges them to radically reimagine Virginia’s juvenile justice system. A focus of Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out! is placed on the school system in an effort to highlight the ways a school system may push its teens out and into the school-to-prison pipeline.

Leading up to the opening of the exhibit, teens spent the summer working closely with filmmakers, muralists, photographers, poets, radio producers, Studio Two Three, and others to create the multi-media exhibition. Organizers say the exhibition will feature a virtual reality film created by the teens, a documentary film about the school-to-prison pipeline, and interactive audio installations that will use human touch to activate stories from youth in the system. The centerpiece of the exhibit will include a curriculum co-designed by teens at Richmond’s Juvenile Detention Center and local high school and middle school teachers.

After the exhibition at ART 180, the teen’s art and advocacy materials will spend the year touring the state (to schools, museums, police departments, and public spaces) to spark dialogue and activate communities around the alternatives to the school-to-prison-pipeline.

Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out! will combine some of the oldest storytelling methods (spoken word) with emerging technologies (virtual and augmented reality). The ultimate goal of the exhibit is to teach teens a variety of skills that will help amplify their voices and dreams of a more just world. The multi-media exhibition will open October 5 at 6 p.m. at ART 180 (114 W. Marshall St) and will be open through November 15 (Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm).

For more about Art 180, visit

And to learn more about Performing Statistics, visit

CategoriesArtists, General, Live

Grid is a solutions-oriented news platform that celebrates makers, storytellers, and community builders. Our goal is to share stories about people inspired by a purpose beyond themselves. We are interested in hard work, humility, authenticity, and stewardship. And most of all, people who roll up their sleeves and push Richmond forward.