Maiden with Waterfall

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

Maiden with Waterfall, Prism lead on paper, 14" x 20"

From Doren L. Walker, collector: "Jeff Huffman was a co-worker of mine in the clothing-issue department at Oakdale. Mr. Huffman often produces larger, detailed, drawings over which he labors for several months or years. He uses higher quality materials, from money earned by selling his pieces. He makes art for extra income, but he also enjoys being known as a good artist, and working at the perfection of his skills. He is able to command a higher price than many other artists in prison. This piece was drawn on higher quality drawing paper. It was drawn with Prism lead and prison-made "shaders" made with rolled up paper and used to produce shading in the piece. I observed Mr. Huffman produce this piece over the course of about two years."

This page was first displayed
on December 13, 2017

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