Spring 2017 Prisoner Express Art Show

Each year, the work of Prisoner Express artists is exhibited at Cornell’s Big Red Barn. This year’s exhibition presented the works of both prisoners new to the program and long-time participants such as prisoners Steve Fegan, Julie Spencer, Leroy Sodorff, dominic Marac, Jerome Washington who consistently send PE their work, and prisoners new to the program such as Chad Whiteford, Daniel Gest.  This curated exhibition presents approximately 30 works of art developed over the past year from various artists in prisons throughout the United States.  

One of the main interests of mine in teaching art through the mail and in prisons is to help the prisoner develop skills in creating their craft.  It is, unfortunately, not enough to “tell my story”, because this puts prisoners in a patronizing position in which the prisoner/artist becomes defined by that story to the audience. Artists learn freedom not by

Artists learn freedom not by telling their story but through crafting it. In this way, the audience judges not the story itself, but how it is told, how it is painted, or how it is written.  Freedom is gained through art by shifting judgment from the story to the aesthetics of the craft; thus allowing the story to be told with authority.

This takes a commitment on both the prisoners and Prisoner Express – in terms of money, discipline, and materials.  If you would like to support helping prisoners become authorities of their own vision, please consider making a donation.

-Treacy Ziegler

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