The Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) at the University of Michigan presents the 21st Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners. This nationally recognized show has grown to be one of the largest exhibitions of its kind, attracting over 4,000 visitors last year to view 400 works by 250 artists. Free and open to the public, this annual exhibition provides a venue for visitors to engage with the ideas and images generated by prisoners. Many pieces are offered for sale, with proceeds going to the artists.
For this year’s exhibition, artists were invited to respond to the theme of water — thinking about the ways in which water is essential to life on Earth, its role in human health, in the global economy, and how water is used in cultural traditions around the world. Each artist was encouraged to communicate the various associations and meanings water has for them: politically, personally, or spiritually.
The public is invited to an opening reception on March 23rd from 7 — 9 p.m. in the gallery. Formerly incarcerated artists will speak about what the show means to those in prison, and a representative from the Michigan Department of Corrections will speak to the significance of PCAP’s arts programming. The gallery opens for visitors at 10am that day and sales begin at 6pm. A full calendar of events can be found at prisonarts.org.
Participating artists express gratitude to organizers and gallery visitors alike, stressing the show’s impact on their lives and the community at large. “I believe that your program gives the public a glimpse into the type of things that inspire even the most downtrodden of us all,” writes one artist. “When people see our work, for a few moments, they forget that this work was done by a felon, but by another human being. A human being who has the same thoughts, emotions, and inspirations as they do, and for that one moment, a major social and political barrier is shattered.”
The 21st Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners is one of several exhibits, lectures, and workshops on University of Michigan campus that examine issues of incarceration this spring. The cross-campus collaboration, Humanize the Numbers, uses collaborative art practices, public installations, and cross-disciplinary workshops to connect incarcerated men and women in Michigan prisons with hundreds of students, artists, researchers, and activists in Southeast Michigan. A full list of events can be found at humanizethenumbers.org.
21st Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners
Exhibition Dates: March 23 – April 6, 2016
Opening Reception: March 23, 7 — 9 pm
Duderstadt Center Gallery
2281 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI
Sunday — Monday: 12 — 6pm
Tuesday — Saturday: 10 am — 7 pm