An Interview by Maggie Hazen
Featuring Marilynn Donato
HD and iPhone video
(Excerpt) 3 minutes and 12 seconds
(Full Length) 14 minutes and 37 seconds
Filmed and edited by Maggie Hazen
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At the age of 13, Marilynn Donato was placed into the New York State Juvenile Justice system and was moved to five different facilities until the age of 16 before she was released in 2020. Maggie Hazen met Marilynn when she was incarcerated at the Columbia Secure Center for Girls in 2019 as a student in one of the digital art classes she taught at the facility. In the video, Marilynn shares her journey in an interview with Hazen while doing her makeup to get ready for a photoshoot.
After her release from the Columbia Secure Center in 2020, Marilynn found Maggie Hazen’s Bard College email address online, where Hazen is a professor of studio arts. Marilynn wanted to go to Bard College, and Hazen helped her through the application process and took her on a tour of Bard’s campus. After applying to Bard, the college encouraged her to apply the following year again. When she came to Bard for the tour, she requested a visit to the Columbia Secure Center, where she was formerly incarcerated, because she said she had “never spent time looking at it from the other side.“
In 2022 Marilynn reached out to Hazen again because she was in the area, and they went on a shopping spree at Target to buy Marilynn an outfit for a photoshoot shoot idea she had. Hazen filmed the events, and Marilynn did her makeup while she shared her story in an interview. Below are her personal photos. Hazen is also working on a portrait series of Marilynn to be released soon.