Prison Creative Arts Project; Selections from the 2008 PCAP art exhibit; 11/2008

Photos of the artwork taken by Wayne Dabney - thanks!

These images represent a small sampling of the artwork included in the 13th Annual Exhibit of Art by Michigan Prisoners, an art exhibit presented each year by the Prisoner Creative Arts Project . It is the only exhibit like it in the US, and provides a very rare opportunity for the general public to view artwork made by incarcerated men and women. The 2008 exhibit contained more than 300 works of art from over 200 prisoners, selected from a much larger pool of artwork submitted for inclusion from artists across the state currently incarcerated at one of the over forty prisons in Michigan.

I have had the pleasure of helping to curate the exhibit over the past few years, and it truly is an amazing show. There is simply no other art exhibit of any kind like this, and it is moving and powerful on many different levels. If you are interested in more information about my experience working on the show, you can read my interview with Mark Maynard here.

PCAP conducts creative writing, theater, and art workshops at Michigan prisons. While these are very important opportunities in the lives of some prisoners, the workshops are able to serve only a tiny fraction of the prison population. While some of the artworks that are selected for the exhibit come from prisoners who have had access to a workshop, the vast majority are not. (There are no art classes in prison.) The artists are primarily self-taught, and work on their own; all have to purchase their materials from a limited list of approved items. Their artwork, like everything else, is closely monitored, and any work deemed inappropriate is destroyed, and may be cause for disciplinary action.

If you would like more information on the Prisoner Creative Arts Project, or the annual art exhibit, you can visit their website here. Also, the project is funded primarily through individual donations; any contributions to this amazing program will be very much appreciated, by a variety of folks, both inside and out. (Please let them know how you heard about the project. And if you would like to see more of this artwork made available online, request that your donation be earmarked for the much-needed website development project!)

- Jason

p.s. Look at these images at the enlarged 1600 size...
Other exhibits by Prison Creative Arts Project
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