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Updated 11:00 AM March 1, 2004



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U-M exhibit features art by Michigan prisoners

Michigan prisoners will have their artwork featured during an exhibit March 2-16 at the Media Union Gallery.

More than 300 art pieces from at least 200 prisoners will be available for sale at the 9th annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
'Tarbaby's Obsession' by Virgil Williams (Courtesy Prison Creative Arts Project)

Prisoners use pen, pencil, chalk, paint and collage materials to create their work. Some have used toilet paper and food. Organizers say the exhibit provides a creative outlet for prisoners, who set their prices typically at $10-$400.

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

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

Exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

Other activities include:

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

• 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 Michigan prisons facilitating cultural programs—will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Room D of the Michigan League.

• March 7: Artists' panel, featuring recently released prison artists and Janie Paul, U-M artist and professor, 3 p.m. Media Union Gallery. Phyllis Kornfeld, a lecturer and teacher of art workshops in prisons, will discuss her work at 7 p.m. in the Michigan League's Henderson Room.
Maurice Scott's 'The Yard II' (Courtesy Prison Creative Arts Project)

• 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 incarcerated for self-defense crimes against abusive partners, 7:30 p.m., Michigan League, Henderson Room.

• 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.

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

• 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, 5 p.m. Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. For tickets, call (734) 647-7673. Students $8; adults $10.

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

For more information about the Prison Creative Arts Project, visit

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