Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America

  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021
  • 4:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom


Registration is closed

An Online Illustrated Talk with Phyllis Kornfeld

Wednesday, May 12, 4pm Eastern via Zoom
Click here to register or call 413.236.2190

Phyllis Kornfeld is an internationally known expert on prison art. She has taught art to incarcerated men and women for over 30 years, and is the author of Cellblock Visions: Prison Art In America (Princeton University Press).

In this illustrated online program, she presents powerful artworks and eloquent quotes that reveal this unseen culture among incarcerated people. She demonstrates the impact of creating art as a preventive against violence and a catalyst for transformation. The evidence is this art - born in the penitentiary - art that challenges stereotypes of incarcerated people. Kornfeld speaks from her personal experience with the artists, their processes, and the prison environment in which the work was created. She quotes men and women in institutions from county jail to death row. They are candid and insightful about their lives, their art, and their incarceration.

You'll see images from a vibrant collection of artwork, created behind bars, from county jail to death row. Incarcerated men and women, having no previous training, turn to art for a sense of self-respect, respect for and from others, a way to find peace. They transcend the cramped space, limited light, and narrow vistas. They triumph over security bans with ingenious resourcefulness - extracting color from shampoo, making paint out of M & Ms and sculpture out of toilet paper.

"In an America that is in the process of returning to the medieval idea of prison as a place of punishment and revenge, as opposed to places of rehabilitation and healing, here is a tiny ray of hope. Here is art that evidences deep and personal healing and lasting change." - David Byrne, musician and writer.

Admission is $10 for OLLI at BCC and Berkshire Museum members, and $15 for the general public.  Admission is free for Berkshire Community College students, youth 17 and under, and those holding WIC, EBT/SNAP, or ConnectorCare cards.

Pre-registration is required. Click here to register safely and securely online or call 413.236.2190.

In partnership with the Berkshire Museum

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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | olli@berkshirecc.edu

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