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Tuesday, 27 May 2014 09:07

Prisoner Creative Arts Project: Perspective

Written by  Kerri VanderHoff
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"Perspective" – a point of view
Holland Area Arts Council
Through June 16, 2014
FREE, (616) 396-3278

Many of us strive to be more compassionate, sympathetic human beings, yet true understanding and empathy can be elusive; walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is easier said than done.

Now add to that the preconceived notions and social barriers that historically accompany certain groups of people, such as prisoners, and the shoes become even more difficult to walk in.

How can those who have never served a prison sentence find the ability to truly and positively relate to those who have? How can those incarcerated and recently released find a place of acceptance and affirmation in society along the way?

One way is through art and creative expression. Three organizations—The University of Michigan’s Prisoner Creative Arts Project (PCAP), 70x7 Life Recovery, and Holland Area Arts Council—are collaborating to present the exhibition Perspective – a point of view, offering an aesthetic path that people from very different groups can explore together.


The exhibition consists of more than 30 works from PCAP Linkage Project, which affirms the creativity of adults returning from incarceration, along with works from the Holland, Michigan-based 70x7 Life Recovery’s ART Makes Change class and hand-painted tiles from artists currently at Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon. The tiles will be available for purchase during the exhibition.

This is an exciting project for our organization to take part in presenting. We believe in assisting people who wish to rebuild their lives and find new forms of self-expression,” said Carrie Childerston, development director of 70x7 Life Recovery. “This exhibition will engage people to see beyond the stereotypes that we as a society determine on each other and open our minds to consider the possibility of change and potential in all people.”

According to Childerston, the exhibition tells the story of how beauty and artistic expression are important to all people in their desire to know and be known. The collaborative goal is to bring awareness to the barriers that exist for men and women returning to society following prison and open up communication between members of our community.

The artists’ stories will be included along with insight into the inspiration for the works of art, providing a compelling look at how perspectives are shaped.

The Holland Area Arts Council is proud to be bringing "Perspective" to our galleries,” said Lorma Williams Freestone, executive director. “Part of our mission is to highlight the transformational power of the arts. Through this excellent program, UM Prisoner Creative Arts Project (and) 70x7 Life Recovery help shine a light on the redemptive power of creativity, and the importance of making a place for the arts in all of our lives.”


Festival of the Arts
Downtown Grand Rapids
June 6-8; FREE

Festival of the Arts, or just ‘festival’ as it has endearingly become known, is a community celebration in downtown Grand Rapids featuring arts, entertainment, food and fun activities for the entire family. This year marks its 45th year, making it one of the longest-running festivals in the state. The Regional Arts Exhibition can be found once again in the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.

Let Them Eat Cake
Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School Grand Rapids
Rezervoir Lounge, Grand Rapids
June 8, 5-8 p.m.

Where life drawing meets cabaret! Celebrate Dr. Sktechy’s five-year GR anniversary with an extravagant party featuring complimentary champagne, decadent cakes, contests, prizes and live figure modeling by Vivacious Miss Audacious, clad as Marie Antoinette.

Lowell Arts, Lowell
June 4-Aug. 17, 2014

F.A.R.M. is a juried exhibition on the topic of farming and agriculture. Embracing the area's rural roots, the F.A.R.M. exhibition creates a contemporary context for exploring the changing role of the modern farm in America. It features traditional depictions of farm life, as well as more experimental works. The exhibition is meant to be thought-provoking and represent a variety of viewpoints exploring transitions and the evolution of farming. Meet the artists at the closing reception from 2-4 p.m. on Aug. 17.

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