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Feb. 23, 2004

U-M exhibit features art by Michigan prisoners
Tarbaby's Obsession
Virgil Williams

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Michigan prisoners will have their artwork featured during an exhibit March 2-16 at the University of Michigan.

More than 300 art pieces from at least 200 inmates will be displayed when the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) of the University of Michigan holds its 9th annual Exhibitions of Art by Michigan Prisoners in the Media Union Gallery, 2281 Bonisteel Boulevard. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The art tends to be realistic and expressionistic, but some pieces are fantasy, experimental collage and abstraction. Prisoners use pen, pencil, chalk, paint and collage materials to create their work. Some have used toilet paper and food.

PCAP, founded in 1990, is committed to original work in the arts in Michigan correctional facilities and juvenile facilities. The organization has worked with prison actors, writers and dance performers.

Organizers say the exhibit provides a creative outlet for prisoners, who set their prices typically at $10 to $400.

"I've seen the (artistic) growth, as well as the look on their faces when they sell their work," said Herschell Turner, an art instructor at Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility and opening reception guest speaker.

Everybody's Alright
Cary Safarian

In addition to the art exhibit, special events and discussions will include artists who were formerly incarcerated and families of the incarcerated.

Exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Monday. Other activities include:

March 2: Opening reception, 5-7:30 p.m., Media Union Gallery.

March 4: Maureen Taylor, state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, will discuss her long-time organizing in Detroit regarding welfare rights, drug policy reform and incarceration. 7 p.m. 3222 Angell Hall.

March 5: AXIS: Anishnabe & Xicanas in Solidarity. Maria Zavala and Jessica Kota, founders of AXIS—a group of Native American and Chicana women who work within the Michigan prisons facilitating cultural program—will speak at 7:30 p.m., Room D, Michigan League.

March 6: Families discuss the impact of having a loved one incarcerated, 3 p.m. Room D, Michigan League.

Pheasants on a Fence
Dennis Glover

March 7: Artists' panel featuring recently released prison artists and Janie Paul, a U-M artist and professor, 3 p.m. Media Union Gallery.

Phyllis Kornfeld, an internationally known lecturer and teacher of art workshops in prisons, will discuss her work, 7 p.m. Henderson Room, Michigan League.

March 8: U-M law professor Phoebe Ellsworth will lead a brown bag luncheon on the death penalty and race in the criminal justice system, 12:15 p.m. Hutchins Hall, Room 220.

Giving a voice: A night dedicated to those who are unable to speak for themselves. The Michigan Battered Women's Clemency Project will recognize women prisoners who are unjustly incarcerated for self-defense crimes against abusive partners, 7:30 p.m., Henderson Room, Michigan League.

March 9: "And Here We Remain" is a student-written piece that explores the lives of women on the inside. Seven women share their stories, feelings, struggles and courage, 7:30 p.m., East Quad Auditorium, 701 East University.

March 10: Youths from Southeastern Michigan high schools and juvenile facilities talk about issues relevant to their experiences. They will share writing, visual art, performance poetry and other works, 4 p.m. 3222 Angell Hall.

March 11: "Incarceration Nation: A reading by Stephen Hartnett" will feature poems by this associate professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 8 p.m. Shaman Drum Bookstore, 315 S. State Street.

March 12: "Ghosts of Attica": Film screening with producer and director Brad Lichtenstein. The documentary offers an account of the brutal assault from a four-day Attica rebellion. For tickets, call (734) 647-7673. Students, $8; adults, $10, 5 p.m. Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty Street.

March 13: Speaking Justice: Poems and prose by former incarcerated writers, 3 p.m. Michigan League.

March 14: State educators discuss the intersection of education and incarceration, 4 p.m. Henderson Room, Michigan League.

March 16: Closing reception, 5-7:30 p.m., Media Union Gallery.

The Media Union is located on U-M's North Campus:

All other events are on or near Central Campus:

For more information about the Prison Creative Arts Project, visit

Contact: Jared Wadley
Phone: (734) 936-7819 .