TIFFIN UNIVERSITY, Tiffin, OH--The Diane Kidd Gallery at Tiffin University will host an exhibit of art by prison inmates titled “Art from the Inside” from Wednesday Feb. 22 to April 5. An opening reception, open to the public, will be held Feb. 22 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
|Jerome- "Vic's Place"|
The exhibition, co-curated by Professor Lee Fearnside, director of the Diane Kidd Gallery, and Dr. Steven Hurwitz, professor of psychology and criminal justice at Tiffin University, is designed to give visitors a glimpse into the experience of Ohio inmates both visually and audibly.
This project connects art appreciation, contemporary art and the criminal justice system, and provides a professional exhibition opportunity for an under-represented population of artists. “Some of these artists made art before prison, while others discovered art during incarceration. Their work is neither outsider art nor prison art—it is simply art,” Fearnside said.
|Willie- "A 10,950 Day View"|
Funded, in part, by the Ohio Arts Council, this exhibit includes art from the Ohio Reformatory for Women, the Grafton Reintegration Center, the Grafton Correctional Institution, the Marion Correctional Institution and the Ohio Innocence Project.
Tiffin University alumnae directly involved with each institution also played an important role in this exhibition. Ronette Burkes (MCJ 2000) is warden of the Ohio Reformatory for Women; Jennifer Gillece Black (BCJ 2003) is deputy superintendent of the Grafton Reintegration Center; and Marti Jerew (BCJ 2003) is a correction specialist at the Marion Correctional Institution and is an adjunct faculty member at TU.
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TU alumna Caitlyn Largent (BCJ 2016) and senior criminal justice/forensic psychology students Beata Krembuszewski and Andrea Alaniz aided in conducting, recording and transcribing the interviews with the inmates. Because of their dedication to this project, guests of the gallery will be able to view the art and listen to audio recordings of the artists discussing the motivation and the meaning behind their art.
“Art serves many different functions for this community of artists,” Hurwitz said. “It transforms time. Prison life can be a monotonous daily routine that does not offer much relief for the inmates behind the walls. But the artists, whose work is displayed in this exhibit, were able to find inspirations in different places and turn time into an ally. Some of the more complex creations can take as long as six months. Ironically, if that same person were not in prison, the demands and vagaries of daily life would not afford them the time to concentrate on their art. More importantly, it occupies time constructively. It provides them with the motivation to create and to strive for excellence. Pride comes when someone looks at their work and says it is good art and not just good for prison art.”
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The exhibit continues the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections’ long history of community partnerships. It has contributed to Ohio being able to show a recidivism rate of 27.5 percent, far better than the national average of 49. 5 percent.
For more information or for a personal interview with Dr. Hurwitz or Professor Fearnside, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.