ATHENS, WV (WVNS) — Inside—>Out: Incarceration is a display of art work created by incarcerated artists in the West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This event is open to the public and are invited to see this touring exhibit at Concord University’s Alexander Fine Arts Center from February 6, 2023 through March 3, 2023.

This display is a collaborative project between artists in the West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Reentry Advocates. It explores the lives of incarcerated individuals who try to use their abilities to put good into the world, even while being excluded and rejected from it. It also explores the topic of the social issues of incarceration and reentry.

“The Sociology Department is excited to bring this unique multi-media art show curated from artists in West Virginia prisons and jails to our region. This exhibit will take you through a journey representing trauma, incarceration, and accountability,” said Lori Pace, instructor of criminology at Concord University.

Some of the artists risked sanctions for using materials that would be considered not allowed in prison and would be considered contraband once altered such as, toilet paper, bread, broken pencils, and color soaked from candy.

“The resilience of the human spirit and desire to communicate through art is inspiring,” said Pace.

Nationally, almost 95% of inmates will eventually return to our communities and many of the felonies in West Virginia are drug involved. Some of the artists in the exhibit are serving life sentences, but most of them will be paroled or released at some point.

“The art in this show helps us see them as a human, not just a felon,” said Pace.

The pieces will be displayed in the Butcher Art Gallery from 8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. The cost of admission is free. This grant funded event is sponsored by Uplift West Virginia, The REACH Initiative – Education and Training, and the Just Trust.