Incarceration and Creation: Art as a Human Need

On exhibit September 17 – November 17, 2021

Since the dawn of time, we have witnessed evidence that the drive to create triumphs over environment, resources, and even access to organized language. Throughout history, art-making has proven itself as an important constant — right alongside all other basic necessities and human needs.

On exhibit are the works of artists either currently or formerly incarcerated. Visitors are asked to consider a human being’s intrinsic need for creative expression. One might assume that imagination and creativity cannot thrive within a system that was designed to strip individuals of their humanity, but the work of these artists reveals that even the most oppressive conditions cannot extinguish ingenuity and self-expression.

Even in a prison, where demoralization is a given and materials often come few and far between, both budding and established artists are creating bodies of work depicting their thoughts, dreams, feelings, and ideas — art that serves as a mode of communication, a vehicle for connection, and a source of freedom.

The works you see were created by artists associated with the Justice Arts Coalition (JAC). JAC is a Maryland-based non-profit that serves as a unifying body for those engaged in artmaking in and around carceral institutions across the US. Through the sharing of stories and resources, and by using the arts as a bridge between people inside and outside of prison, JAC unites teaching artists, arts advocates, and currently and previously incarcerated artists and allies, harnessing the transformative power of the arts to reimagine justice. JAC believes that art can serve as connective tissue, weaving its way back and forth through prison walls to foster and strengthen relationships between people inside and out, and is committed to increasing opportunities for creative expression in carceral settings while amplifying the voices of those most impacted by mass incarceration.

Art can remind us of our shared humanity, of our common struggles and sacrifices, and that every one of us has unique gifts and a unique story to share. To create a work of art – a song, a dance, or a poem – within the barren confines of prison is truly a courageous and liberating act – a reclaiming of identity, of possibility, of worth, a demand to be visible.


Artists on exhibit:

Carole Alden, Valentino Amaya, Danny Ashton, Greg Bolden, Conor Broderick, William Brown, Michael Bryant, Lesley Rae Burdick, Jon Cashion, Joshua Earls, Harry Ellis, JaRoy Gilmer, Gary Harrell, Corey Hayes, Brian Hindson, William B. Livingston III, Robert Odom, Kid Wif Da Crayons (KW/DC), Henry David Potwin, James Sepesi, Mike Tran, R. Zumar, Alaska, Tomàs


For accommodation requests, please contact the museum via email or at 301-774-0022.

ARTINA 2021: Balancing Act

On exhibit Wednesday, August 4 – Saturday, November 6, 2021.

A juried exhibit featuring 12 original works created by 10 local artists who are members of the Washington Sculptors Group.  The sculptures are exhibited throughout the grounds of Sandy Spring Museum.

In this exhibit, artists respond to the concept of balance, which is a dynamic force of nature and constantly in flux.  The world is out of kilter, with natural as well as social systems listing to extremes. “What we need,” we say, “is balance; balance must be restored.” But what do we mean by “balance” and what is our relationship to it?  What has the chaos of the past year taught us about the human need for balance?  Can we ever achieve balance or is it an elusive chimera?

This is the fifth sculpture garden hosted jointly by Washington Sculptors Group and Sandy Spring Museum.

On Exhibit
Struggle (1) and Within a Dark Forest (2) by Adam Bradley

Dean (1) and Olympia (2) by Annie Farrar

Brae by Stephanie Garon

Unearthing the Roots by Dalya Luttwak

On the Edge by Mary Opasik

About to Fly by Sookkyung Park

Coextensive Coexistance by Marc Robarge

Mother Earth II by Belen Sorzana

Balance Counterbalance by Veronica Szalus

Accident by Ira Tattelman

About the Juror
Twylene Moyer, editor of Sculpture magazine, has published in a wide range of periodicals, monographs, and catalogues. She is the co-editor of five books on contemporary sculpture, including The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency. In addition to serving as a juror for a variety of shows, she curated “Insight Out” and “Disintegration,” two exhibitions of site-specific, outdoor works for the Arlington Arts Center.

Click here to view a map of the exhibit.

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America

On exhibit from October 8 to November 21, 2021

Our democracy demands action, reaction, vision, and revision as we continue to question how to form “a more perfect union.” How do you participate as a citizen? From the American Revolution and woman’s suffrage to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story – the story of democracy in America.

Voices and Votes is a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Featuring historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival videos; engaging multimedia interactives with short games and additional footage, photos, and information; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material, this exhibit encourages viewers to participate and make their voices heard in a government that entrusts the power of the nation not in a monarchy, but in its citizens.

Brought to you by Maryland Humanities Museum on Main Street program.