Inmate Art Displayed at Allegany College
November 7, 2011 - More than twenty pieces of inmate art are on display at the Hazen Gallery at Allegany College of Maryland, all of it original work created by maximum-security prisoners at the two Division of Correction (DOC) prisons in Cumberland.The art show is a cooperative effort between the DOC and Allegany College. It features portraits and landscapes depicting everything from the Beatles, President Obama, and Malcolm X to western Maryland trains, angels, and animals.
Inmate artists taught their fellow inmates in classroom settings, with all supplies paid for by inmates. The project was initiated by the recreation officer at North Branch, the DOC’s newest prison in Cumberland. Inmate artists from both North Branch and Western Correctional Institution participated.
North Branch Recreation Officer Melissa Will, who plans, creates, and implements all inmate activities, said inmates were given this outlet because staff at the Cumberland prisons recognize that men who are trying to change their lives need a positive creative outlet. And in order to participate, inmates had to remain infraction-free for an extended period of time.
On the first day of the art show, college students, professors, and campus visitors, as well as correctional personnel, marveled at the talent behind bars as they examined the paintings and sketches. The artwork will be on display at the Hazen Gallery through January 27.
DPSCS appreciates the support of its Cumberland DOC personnel and Allegany College, whose cooperative efforts made this very unique event happen.