Skip to Content

Janie Paul to Publish Book on Prison Creative Arts Project

Portrait of Janie Paul

A unique art book featuring the work of incarcerated people that has been in the making for the last ten years will be published in early 2023

Janie Paul, Emeritus Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the Stamps School, is the author of Making Art in Prison: Survival and Resistance, which will be released in March 2023, but is currently available for pre-order. Paul has been part of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) for nearly 30 years and is the co-founder, with her late husband Buzz Alexander, of the Annual Exhibitions of Artists in Michigan Prisons, now in its 27th year. The book represents her work to cultivate, curate, and celebrate the work of incarcerated artists in Michigan. Her late husband and former U‑M English Professor, William Buzz” Alexander, founded PCAP

Buzz introduced me to working in the arts with incarcerated artists. Besides the amazingly talented artists, he is one of the inspirations behind this book,” said Paul. With over 200 color reproductions, individual artists’ stories, and extensive text, the book explores visual art making as a form of resistance and meaning creation. This work needs to be shared with the world. These profound creations have come out of the most difficult circumstances and truly celebrate the strength of the human spirit.”

Paul is a renowned painter, community-based artist, and educator who has received many awards for her art and social justice work. Since its founding in 1996, she has been the Senior Curator of the annual exhibitions. For many years, Janie taught Art Workshops in Prisons, a class in which college students facilitate weekly art workshops in prisons and juvenile facilities. Students in her Detroit Connections class work with underserved Detroit public elementary schools, helping youngsters create art that promotes growth through individual and collaborative work.