Laurie Jo Reynolds is a Chicago-based artist who has been involved in many prison support projects. Her work is deeply rooted in social activism. She did her MFA in film, video, and New Media and also has an MA in communication studies and a BA in public policy and American institutions.
One of the projects Reynolds has been involved in is called the Tamms Poetry Committee. The committee works to send a piece of mail and a poem to each prisoner in the Tamms Supermax prison once a month. She is also involved in other groups such as Chicago County Fair, Tamms Year Ten, and S.O. Work Group. The S.O. Work Group works to create a positive dialogue in communities with and about sex offenders. In 2007 Reynolds made a short film called Space Ghost that compares the experiences of an astronaut to the experiences of a prisoner in a maximum security prison. The film won Best of Fest in the Iowa City Experimental Film Festival as well as first place in the FLEX Fest in Gainesville, Florida. Also in 2007 Reynolds was featured in an exhibition called Captive Audience at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery 400. The show’s focus was on artists who collaborated or otherwise addressed imprisoned people.
In addition to her short film, Reynolds has participated in a project associated with the group Tamms Year Ten in which local artists stenciled messages about the Tamms Supermax prison on surfaces in public places to raise awareness about the problem.
Reynolds has taught at universities such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Iowa and currently teaches at Loyola University and Columbia College.