The Peace out of the Heart

A Glimpse Inside: Art Produced in Iowa Prisons

The artworks included in "A Glimpse Inside" were produced inside the Iowa Prison system, at various locations. Artists make use of mostly improvised materials to produce art that may be purely for self-expression, or possibly for personal income, such as greeting cards and commissioned portraits. All income earned in prison, whether privately or from official wages, is meager. Art is sometimes produced for cash and at other times for "prison money."

The collector, Doren L. Walker, was encouraged by retired attorney Vicki Rush to share his own art and art he has collected from incarcerated persons over the last fifteen years. His hope is that each artist will be seen as a person, making it easier for them to rejoin Iowa communities and find good jobs and suitable housing. Mr. Walker has been aided by support from Inside Out Reentry Community and Kathrina Litchfield, of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. Jordan Sellergren, Art Director at Little Village, set up the exhibition at the magazine's headquarters in Iowa City. This has been a truly communal effort!

Inside Out Reentry Community website

The Peace out of the Heart, Colored pencil on typing paper, 8.5" x 11", 2005

In his own words:

I began collecting art made inside prison for my own personal monetary gain. I also produced art for my own monetary gain in prison. I volunteer for Inside Out Reentry Community, and as part of that work I collaborated with another volunteer whose idea was to exhibit art made inside prison, for humanitarian reasons. I have since realized that collecting the art was an activity that was divinely inspired. I saw that I had really been collecting it so viewers can come to see each artist as a human. And I hope that it inspires folks who have jobs to offer or decent housing to rent, to communicate some of these offers to the guys inside.

This page was first displayed
on December 12, 2017

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