Studio B Announces Discussion and Opening Reception on “The Art and Experience of Prison”

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Studio B Fine Art Gallery, 39A East Philadelphia Avenue in Boyertown, PA, announces “Prison Art and Experience,” a discussion and opening of an art exhibit.

On Sunday, October 24, 2021, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Joe Romeri, former inmate, and Jody Guy, executive director and founder of the Wilkinsburg Civic Center, will visit Studio B to talk about the prison experience and the role it plays. art in the life of a prisoner. Bob Wood will moderate the discussion.

A vernissage of the exhibition in the studio’s Gray Gallery is scheduled for Friday, October 29, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. . The exhibition, a complement to the studio’s “Abstract, Impressionism and Real Estate” exhibition will run until November 28, 2021.

Facebook LIVE link: https://fb.me/e/KrTMKIl2

The Prisoner Art Exhibition / Experience, represented by inmate Richard A. Guy, will have as a focal point the pencil drawing art course offered to hundreds of prisoners at Fayette State Correctional Facility, in Pennsylvania.

“The focus of the class enabled each inmate to overcome the restrictive prison environment to see the world from a new perspective and express themselves through the visual arts,” Guy said in a prepared statement.

To enhance the spectacle and effectively communicate the prison experience to clients, a publication of Department of Corrections materials and supporting references will be on display, offering a perspective on rules, policies and procedures, including art materials. allowed, religious activities and rules of housing units. Statements and artist profiles will provide additional information.

In his statement, Guy offered several insights to consider. First, due to COVID, no art classes have been taught since March 2020. The facility remains in a lockdown cohort status that was just relaxed several weeks ago. All designs predate Locked Status. All 3D art was done in the cell during COVID.

Second, the majority of pencil drawings were made by students who had no prior art education or experience. “What these prisoners have done and accomplished over the hours and hours of daily practice is remarkable! Guy explained. “Some of the arts depicted in greeting cards, tattoo designs, handkerchiefs, and envelopes may seem simplistic, but represent amazing artistic achievements made in prison for self-improvement.”

Third, most of the designs were “traditional” art; landscapes, still lifes and portraits, notes Guy. “The students did this by design and choice. Most gravitated towards the traditional because it had a greater meaning and a sense of accomplishment to them. Sending a landscape home to family and friends was much more desirable than sending home a still life from a prison cell, ”he continued.

Author of the exhibition: Richard A. Guy — History and contributions

The origins of the exhibit began in 2013 with a letter from Richard A. Guy, a man serving a life sentence at LaBelle State Correctional Facility in Fayette County. He offered to organize an exhibition of works of art by his fellow inmates as a contribution to the library’s art lending program. In his letter, he mentions having learned about the library’s program and talks about it to some of his co-inmates, very good artists, with the idea of ​​giving them a trail of creativity and supporting the library in his project.

The plan was to show 20 works of art, but word spread and some inmates donated 30 pieces eager to ensure they were included in the show. The library launched The Prism Project’s first exhibition, “Inside Artists Reaching Out”. The 25 exhibits were available to visitors; another group of donated items were on display, including handmade cards, a dollhouse, and folded paper jewelry boxes.

Richard A. Guy’s first cousin, Jody Guy, represented him at the opening show and read his speech in front of a crowd of around 80 people. Guy spent over 30 years in the state prison system for the stabbing death of a friend after an argument. In a 1995 interview, he said he was eaten away by vodka and valium at the time. Guy had been a senior teenage tennis player and had served 4 years in the US Navy.

While in prison, Guy graduated with honors from the Psychology program at the University of Pittsburgh at SCI-Pittsburgh, where he taught other inmates to speak in public, became active in the Jaycees, a was president of a program for people at risk. youth, and designed the donation campaign to provide baseball equipment to local Little League teams.

He has been active in sports, social activities and education; he plays the keyboard and the saxophone in groups and shows; has captained and played in inter-varsity basketball, softball and volleyball sports teams and as intramural league basketball and volleyball commissioner. He has coached and played on over 25 intramural championship teams and received the Department of Corrections Athlete of the Year award. He has been a leader and role model for his peers, demonstrating discipline, teamwork, and moving his life forward in a positive direction. He is also a state licensed PIAA basketball official.

He became a communications instructor, administered tests, kept all University of Pittsburgh records, and served as the Outpatient Instructor Orientation Coordinator. He graduated from the Ministry of Correction’s First National Threshold Program and taught decision-making skills. As secretary of the PA Lifer’s Organization, he has created workshops and symposia focused on parole eligibility issues for lifers. Her charitable work includes chartering the “Shots for Tots,” a Pittsburgh Pirates alumni group event; expand a Veterans Day ceremony; launch a biennial Girl Scout cookie sale; and as a peer facilitator for the Department of Corrections citizenship course, teaching civic pride and personal responsibility in prisons.

He co-founded the Drexel Literature Project designed around Drexel honorary students sending readings of classic English literature and relevant questions to inmates for analytical study and academic interaction. Currently, Guy is a peer rehab community therapy facilitator, education department block tutor, art class instructor, sports official, coach and mentor for fellow inmates. .

Ms. Guy told the audience, reading her cousin’s prepared speech, that another inmate had planted the seed of the show by “deploring the lack of artistic opportunities that incarceration imposes.” I was inundated with artists eager to contribute. A young inmate told him that “in all evil there is good and he wanted the world to know that his work was for his good.”

Reading Mr. Guy’s speech, Ms. Guy said that the Prism Project “humbly offers this work of art as a small token of restitution to the community and to society for the damage we have caused”.

The exhibition and the opening are free and open to the public; all COVID security protocols will be followed during the in-person reception. In addition, the gallery invites visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment by contacting Susan Biebuyck, [email protected], 484-332-2757 or Jane Stahl, [email protected], 610-563-7879.


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