Justice Arts Coalition Blog

Sketches from Inside

In January of this year, we started a Prison Arts Pilot Program here at Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution (AMCI) in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. We set out to do a series of 9 drawing classes with 15 incarcerated men each of whom are serving sentences from a few years to life. Our original intention was to solely focus on drawing exercises as many of the men were most interested in learning skills and art terms that others are able to learn in school. Over the weeks though, our drawing exercises turned into communal teaching opportunities in which all participants taught each other and we all learned to grow together as artists.
More than anything, the men at AMCI would like you to know that they have talent, heart, and soul and do not want to be forgotten.

Prison Education and the Freedom to Create Art

Guest post contributed by Shyla Maskell, who is being released from Suffolk County House of Correction today.    Many people rightly believe prison education reduces the recidivism rate and gives post release job opportunities. But what they don’t realize is that prison education, and specifically art, does much more than that. I am currently being …

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“Art kept us sane”: An interview with memoir author Logan Crannell

"Writing grounded me and kept my mind from circling in on itself. Being locked in a concrete cell for twenty-one hours a day, you get consumed by repetitive and irrational thoughts. It's important to get them out of your system, otherwise they eat you alive."

Events Calendar for the 23rd Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners

The Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners is one of the largest exhibitions of art by incarcerated artists in the country. Each year, faculty, staff and students from the University of Michigan travel to correctional facilities across Michigan and select work for the exhibition while providing feedback and critique that strengthens artist’s work and builds community around making art inside prisons.

Artist statement: D. Ashton

Visual artist D. Ashton recently contributed an incredible collection of drawings and paintings to our Gallery. PAC asked him what inspires his work. This is what he shared with us: Having gotten certification in art teaching as well as majoring in art and art history, I have been lucky to have seen and studied all …

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Still Life In Prison

By Treacy Ziegler Still life drawing by prisoner David “….tear the memory from my eyes” – Tom Waits In prison, where time can be ignored, the prisoner Joe says he no longer looks at a clock, “I don’t think about time. What difference can it make to me when I’m serving life without parole? Every …

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Corrections . . . Because being in prison can be hazardous to your health.

"A lot of people in society view people in prison as big, hulking, tattooed killers. They can’t fathom the thought of them as humans that age, get sick, and die in here like people do in society."

What the Warden Doesn’t Know

By Treacy Ziegler I’m in the deputy warden’s office for an interview; I want to volunteer as an art teacher in a maximum-security men’s prison.  I sit facing the deputy’s desk while she reads my resume. As with many artists’ resumes, mine begins with a list of the solo exhibitions.  After 20 years as an …

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Reflections from JAC’s Founding Director in Response to Anti-Asian Violence

Black Lives Matter