Skip to Content

Janie Paul

Making Art in Prison: Survival and Resistance

In this drawing, a man wearing an orange hat and jumpsuit is pictured in the foreground, with the shadows of wire mesh across his face. Other inmates exercise and walk through a courtyard behind him.
DeJesus, R., Orange Nation, 2016

Sunday, October 22, 2023
3:00 pm


In-person Event

U-M Museum of Art
Helmut Stern Auditorium, 525 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Open to the public
Free of charge
Watch Video

Author Janie Paul and two formerly incarcerated artists will discuss the significance of making visual art in prison, with reference to Paul’s recently published book, Making Art in Prison: Survival and Resistance, and the artists’ personal experiences. Using philosophical, aesthetic, and political lenses, they will share and explore various modes of resistance employed by imprisoned artists that combat the dehumanization of prison and create paths toward meaning and purpose, and reflect on ways to be in solidarity with those who are incarcerated.

In Making Art in Prison: Survival and Resistance, Janie Paul introduces readers to the culture and aesthetics of prison art communities featuring over 200 images of extraordinary work. These powerful stories and images upend the manufactured stereotypes of those living in prison, imparting a real human dimension — a critical step in the movement to end mass incarceration.

Janie Paul is a painter, curator, writer, and an Arthur F. Thurnau professor emerita of the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. For 27 years, she has traveled throughout Michigan to meet artists and select work for the project she co-founded: the Annual Exhibition of Artists in Michigan Prisons, an initiative of the Prison Creative Arts Project at U‑M.

This program is presented by UMMA in partnership with Janie Paul, the Prison Creative Arts Project, and the Stamps School of Art and Design on the occasion of the U‑M LSA Theme Semester Arts & Resistance. The Arts & Resistance Theme Semester, organized by UMMA and the U‑M Arts Initiative, is generously supported by the U‑M Office of the Provost, the U‑M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick.


Content Notice

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.