Prisoner art spans wide spectrum of creativity

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By Cynthia Price

Everything from a set of crocheted dolls with pasted on photo faces, to pencil drawings, to an amazing sculptured robot painting on an easel is available for viewing at the University of Michigan’s 24th Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners March 20-April 3, shown at the Duderstadt Center Gallery in Ann Arbor.

However, since it is possible to purchase the art and there was already a line of four or five people at 4 p.m. opening day (with sales not starting until 6:00), it is probably a good idea to hurry. The gallery is open Sun.-Mon. 12:00-6:00 p.m., and Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 

Last year’s exhibit resulted in half of the over 600 works sold, for a dollar amount of $26,000, with proceeds going directly to the artists.

The display, a project of the Prison Creative Arts Project, was started in 1996 by PCAP’s director, Buzz Alexander, and his wife Janie Paul, a U of M emeritus professor.

That year, the couple traveled around to 16 prisons across Michigan and chose the very best art she saw.

This year there were 2,215 pieces submitted, and 670 chosen for display.

The artists are anywhere from 18 to 80 years old, and come from a variety of backgrounds.

More information is available at www.prisonarts.org/exhibits

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