ANN ARBOR, MI – The Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) presents the Fourteenth Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners. The artwork featured in PCAP’s Annual Exhibition over the years has addressed a wide variety of social issues, this year focusing on climate change. Incarcerated people being cut off from the natural landscape have witnessed the widespread poisoning and consumption of the Earth’s natural resources in poignant and innovative ways. The artwork in this year’s show gives voice to these observations.
From March 24 – April 8, 2009, the show will be held at the Duderstadt Center Gallery on the University of Michigan North Campus at 2281 Bonisteel Boulevard. Over the past decade, this nationally recognized show has grown to be the largest exhibition of prisoner art in the country. This year’s exhibition will include more than 300 works of art by over 200 artists, shedding light on the talents to be found behind prison walls and encouraging the public to take a second look.
Free and open to the public, the exhibition and surrounding educational events raise awareness and inspire dialogue between the incarcerated and the community at large. The public is invited to an opening reception on March 24th from 5:30 – 8 p.m. in the gallery. Formerly incarcerated artists who have now reentered into the community will speak about what the show means to those in prison.
Participating artists express gratitude to organizers and gallery visitors alike, stressing the show’s impact on their lives and the community at large. “I believe that your program gives the public a glimpse into the type of things that inspire even the most downtrodden of us all” writes one artist. “When people see our work, for a few moments, they forget that this work was done by a felon, but by another human being. A human being who has the same thoughts, emotions, and inspirations as they do, and for that one moment, a major social and political barrier is shattered.”
Despite limited resources, exhibition artists create work in a rich range of styles, mediums, and themes. Visitors return to the show year after year to glimpse art that is remarkable for its originality, beauty, and sheer expressive power. Last year, over 4,000 people came to the exhibit. Organizers expect even higher attendance this year and an exciting array of new work.
This year’s exhibition, curated by Professors Buzz Alexander, Janie Paul, and Jason Wright, exhibits work from over forty prisons throughout the state. The curators, PCAP Administrators Lashaun phoenix Moore, and Sari Adelson, along with various volunteers travel to these prisons to hand select the strongest work from the artists. As a result of this annual event, the amount of art created in Michigan prisons has increased dramatically, and Michigan prison artists have become national leaders, inspiring others to create art behind bars.
The Prison Creative Arts Project will be celebrating the release of the first annual Literary Review of Writing by Michigan Prisoners in conjunction with the 14th annual exhibition. The lit review contains writings from both men and women incarcerated across the state of Michigan, and will be celebrated with formerly incarcerated writers and guest editor, Joey Bathanti, reading excerpts from the review.
The exhibition is to be accompanied by keynote speeches from acclaimed author of A Kind and Just Parent, and Chicago Citizen of the Year, William Ayers, poster artist/political activist Malaquias Montoya, and award winning author of Coventry, Joey Bathanti. In conjunction, a panel discussion on women and children inside prison will be held with journalist Silja Talvi, and executive director of Our Children’s Place, Melissa Radcliff. For a complete listing and description of events, please visit: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/english/pcap/pages/news.asp#sched.
Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, and 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Sun day – Monday.
Editors: Photos of art work and gallery available upon request.
Reporters: Option of previewing the show on Monday, March 23, upon request.
Watch a brief preview of the PBS documentary “Acts of Art: The Prison Creative Arts Project” here: http://www.michigantelevision.org/
For More Information: call 734-647-7673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.prisonarts.org