Cat or Mouse?

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

Cat or Mouse?, Pen and colored pencil on paper

From collector Doren L. Walker: "This childish image was drawn by Phil Yeoman, an inmate at IMCC. Phil usually draws shapes and things of that nature. This was drawn on the highest quality paper with the highest quality pens and coloring pencils from Dick Blick. Money is not an issue for Phil; he creates art out of love, and these were gifted to a friend. I believe it takes him away from the prison; it's his Escape. Phil grew up around Oskaloosa over in Mahaska County. He is a war veteran and very active with the incarcerated veterans group. He plays musical instruments and is a kind and giving individual."

This page was first displayed
on February 01, 2018

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