Our First Date

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

Our First Date, Oil on canvas panel, 11" x 17", 2017

From collector Doren L. Walker: "This was painted to commemorate a first date at the Englert Theatre (to see Pokey LaFarge). Terry Van Houten made this portrait to commemorate the occasion, and commented that he especially enjoyed working with the play of colors of the playbills in the window, as well as the lines of Vicki's skirt."

This page was first displayed
on February 15, 2018

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