November 07, 2011

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Author Phyllis Kornfeld will discuss prisoner art in a talk Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

Kornfeld, who has taught art courses in the prison system for more than  25 years, is the author of Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America.

The book is a collection of inmate artwork created behind bars, from county jail to death row.

"Men and women inmates, having no previous training, turn to art for a sense of self-worth, an opportunity to vent rage, a way to find peace," said Kornfeld.

"They transcend the cramped space, limited light, and narrow vistas of their prison studios. They triumph over security bans with ingenious resourcefulness - extracting color from shampoo - making paint out of M & Ms - weaving with cigarette wrappers."

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is held in conjunction with the Samek Art Gallery exhibition, "Freehand," located in the project room through Dec. 4.

"Freehand" features artworks produced by inmates at Pennsylvania correctional institutions at the county, state and federal levels. Through presenting the talents of Pennsylvania inmates, the goal of this exhibition is to promote a dialogue of ideas between prisoners and those on the outside.

Organized by the Samek Art Gallery in partnership with the Lewisburg Prison Project, "Freehand" is guest-curated by Shawna Meiser.

Contact: Division of Communications


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