‘Art Beyond Bars’
A free opening reception for “Art Beyond Bars,” approximately 20 artworks by inmates at the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in Room 203 of the Duquesne Union at Duquesne University. The exhibition, comprising works in media including drawing, sculpture, poetry, and rap, continues through April 30 in the Les Idees Gallery.
The exhibition was curated by six Duquesne graduate students working in collaboration with several men in the prison. Students and inmates learned about curating an exhibition, constructing a historical narrative and developing public history skills.
The idea for the exhibition grew out of the work of Duquesne professors Elaine Parsons and Norman Conti, leader of the Pittsburgh branch of the national Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Inside-Out holds classes inside jails and prisons and has begun a program with seven men serving life sentences who are working to impact safety in their home communities.
The goal of the exhibition is to “humanize the inmate, to show that everyday people can relate to these men in one way or another,” said Abigail Kirstein, a public history master’s student quoted in a press release. “We are attempting to build this relationship through the medium of art.”
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