Solitary Garden

jackie sumell, Solitary Garden, UC Santa Cruz Installation view, 2019
jackie sumell, Solitary Garden, UC Santa Cruz Installation view, 2019

Welcome to the online resources for Solitary Garden the participatory public sculpture and garden project by award-winning artist jackie sumell at UC Santa Cruz. Solitary Garden creatively advocates for the end of solitary confinement and mass incarceration in the United States and asks viewers and participants, as the artist explains, "to imagine a landscape without prisons." Read more about Solitary Garden in UC Santa Cruz Magazine and here.

The garden continues to grow at UC Santa Cruz, despite current shelter-in-place requirements. Please use the resources below to experience the project and to learn more about the issues it engages. And write Tim: Timothy Young, #F23374, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA 94974. 

An extended video tour of Solitary Garden is also available.

IAS undergraduate interns Jocelyn and Chloe offer a close look at Solitary Garden and discuss their experiences working on the project for this video tour.

Read "Letters from Lockdown: Solitary Gardener Tim Young on COVID-19 in San Quentin"

Tim Young has been writing to us from his solitary cell in San Quentin since August 2019, with letters detailing the garden he designed for UC Santa Cruz. In March 2020, Tim's letters began to reflect the changing circumstances in San Quentin. Read his almost weekly reports of the conditions in San Quentin due to COVID-19.

Explore Other Resources

"Because I am conscious, and because I come from people who have taught me the art of making something out of nothing, I choose to turn this 'coffin' into a college. I choose to turn this 'concrete tomb' into a library, a place of learning, thinking, and reflecting.” -Tim Young

Together with Tim Young and jackie sumell, we have compiled the following resources related to Solitary Garden, the advocacy to end solitary confinement and abolish the death penalty, the COVID-10 crisis in our prisons and jails, and the prison abolition movement.