UPDATE: Go to www.thecompassionprojectmiami.com for newer, fuller content. Exhibit opens June 7, 2019 - September 23, 2019 at the Coral Gables Museum at 285 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, FL 33134 Exhibit info at museum website as well at www.coralgablesmuseum.org during regular museum visiting hours.

The idea of this photography project aims to upend the preconceptions our society has about incarcerated women. Who are they? How did they become incarcerated? Who and what have they left behind? What is possible for them now?

The systemic inequities and costs of mass incarceration have garnered increasing attention. To date, scant attention has been paid to the fastest growing segment of the prison population: women. The pathways to prison and the issues facing women are different than those facing men and the impact of incarceration is often very profound on the children they are forced to leave behind.

The project's images will be printed in large format. Each woman will write a narrative reflecting how she wants the world to see her. The narratives will accompany the images. The show will also have an audio tour component for listening to the women speak of their lives for a more intimate experience of the narratives.

The project will be up for exhibit for a period of nine weeks starting September, 2019 and open to the community and school groups. Photos will then be used for educational purposes, web use, and for LEAP promotional purposes.


As the first of its kind re-entry program for women in the Florida prison system, LEAP, a 501(c)(3) faces the multiple challenges that arise when tackling the problem of offender rehabilitation and recidivism including substance abuse, trauma, mental illness, and dependence disorders. Our success in decreasing the recidivism rate of program participants is from 17% (Florida average) to 4% (LEAP average). LEAP relies on the support and partnerships of local organizations to address these complex, interdependent issues and help our women transition from prison to back community.

Education and outreach continue to play a pivotal role in forging these partnerships and expanding LEAP’s impact. This photography project will serve as a stepping stone towards greater awareness of the female offender and her unique challenges, as well as solidify LEAP’s status as a sustainable non-profit and affect change. www.leapforladies.org


Starr Sariego is a Miami photographer with a love for making portraits and is passionate about using photography as a tool for community engagement in understanding unseen populations within our culture, specifically women. www.starrsariegophotography.com.

Starr Sariego

Past project: Starr previously managed and curated the Bold Beauty Project in November, 2016 which shed light on the power and beauty of women with physical disabilities. www.boldbeautyproject.com/past-shows/miami-fl-2016/


Portraits will be made of 20 formerly incarcerated women. The scope of the project management includes recruiting/coordinating the photographers and schedules of the women and determining locations for shoot. Additional production work includes gathering interviews and written narratives from the participants with volunteers, locating gallery space, designing and installing the show. This work has been in progress since December, 2017.

Emphasis has been placed on using local (and women when possible) photographers. We are lucky to have the support and participation of nationally known photographers as well. They include Maggie Steber, http://wovexhibition.org/photographers/maggie-steber/bio and Donato Di Camilo www.donatodicamillo.com Johanne Rahaman https://themuse.jezebel.com/meet-johanne-rahaman-the-photographer-documenting-flor-1791127458 and Mary Beth Koeth https://www.mbkoeth.com. (NOTE: All photographers have graciously donated their time and talent to this project.)

Maggie Steber
Johanne Rahaman
Donato DiCamillo
Mary Beth Koeth

Additionally, an art film is being made by Alexandra Vivas www.alexandravivas.com, Oscar Lobo https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1977277/ and their team for projection during the show. The video will run on a loop on a wall for the duration of the show.

Proudly, we have been asked to show this important work at the Coral Gables Museum in early 2019. The site, a 1939 WPA building, was formerly an old police station and fire house and the remaining footprints of the cells are still visible. www.coralgablesmuseum.org


We are looking for dignified corporate champions to partner with us at the $10,000 level, art loving, social justice minded noble partners to sponsor this project with donations of $5,000-$9,000, gracious partners to donate $1,000-$4,999 and kind partners donating $500-$999. Of course, all donations of any amount are welcomed and greatly appreciated. Sponsors will be featured on LEAP's website and in the show program. Please contact Starr Sariego at 786-351-2173 or starrsariego@gmail.com to donate. All donations are tax deductible and can be made to LEAP. More sponsorship details available at thecompassionprojectmiami.com.

We'd also like to thank LUSH COSMETICS CHARITY FOUNDATION for their generous grant. Check them out at lwww.lushusa.com/charitypot/html.


photo by Starr Sariego

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