No bars for art:
Art is seen as an exceptional educational project in many jails, art becomes an activity entirely teachable and effective when the main purpose is changing the minds of inmates within an adequate social cultural environment. Art builds bridges between inmates and outside people and at the same time, people dismiss prejudices against convicts. Art is considered inclusive and implies activities carry out in prisons and in addition art is a therapy in order to make easier their life behind bars and perhaps they deeply regret their crimes.
Art is applied and seen in many contexts and in jails is useful and is a fact that inmates work for exceeding their goals and art gives a positive feedback. In addition, for teachers is a challenge to work with convicts, they are aware that inmates are not children but they have into account their endeavour to make a successful work, they have found that teaching in jails is rewarding. However, prisoners are in jail for many reasons and under criminal laws but they express themselves through art, nothing limits them to do it neither bars nor prison guards.
Prison life can cause psychological distress and consequently there is a need for mental treatment and art therapy services is the best option. The advantages for art therapy are well known, researches from Florida State University developed a program of art therapy, and they had quantitative studies to examine the effectiveness of art therapy with prison inmates. The results of the studies revealed that art therapy is effective in improving mood, behavior and socialization. Art is not a way or earning money only, art is a way of improve life for people who are living in darkness paying for the crimes or calamities that they committed.
Art attempts to encourage inmates to work and earn their own money and through this art changes their way of living, their objectives and minds. There are web pages or online outlet for the sale of crafts, paintings and artwork created by prisoners, for instance “priosonart”, “prison art for sale-fine art America”, “how to sell prison art”, etc. They sale each piece of art, painting or craft posting on the sites their name (need not to be real), the title of the item or artwork, the price and contact information in some cases.
The opportunities that art gives to people in jail are unlimited if art is accompanied by a creative project. These projects are an approach to the community; they connect convicts with society against one´s better judgement as in some cases. It is relevant to consider that people who work on this kind of projects are the result of hard working and dedication, they love what they do, teaching inmates and encouraging them to find a new way of living, despite the fact that this is a challenge inconceivable for some people. Teachers and people who join the projects show that art helps and contributes to inclusion and on the other hand, prisoners demonstrate that they can do it; they are ready to change their life and show the society that behind bars they can be connected with the world doing something good in compensation for their crimes.
Campbell A. (2010). . [ONLINE] Available at: http://arttherapyinprison.com/?page_id=183. [Last Accessed 9 July 2013].
Gussak D., (August 2007). . 4th ed. Florida State University, Tallahasse. [Last Accessed 7 July 2013].
(2013). . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.prisonart.org/index.php?main_page=page&id=2. [Last Accessed 9 July 2013].
López J., González Diez J. y Romero Rodríguez J. (2009). PARA EL ARTE NO HAY REJAS. La formación cultural como medio de reinserción social.[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.redvisual.net/pdf/9-10/carcel.pdf. [Last Accessed 7 July 2013].