Incarceration and Creation: Art as a Human Need

Exhibited from September 17 – November 17, 2021

Works of artists by currently or formerly incarcerated individuals. Visitors were 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.

This exhibit was created in partnership with the Justice Arts Coalition.

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