One organization has collected over 100 pieces of framed art and recently launched its first traveling gallery. What makes these art pieces special? The talented men and women who created these pieces are in prison.
Crossroads Prison Ministries connects Christian mentors with prisoners through Bible studies and letter writing. Twenty years ago, the ministry noticed the envelopes that their students mailed in often had artwork on them.
Eliezer Yeong, the curator for the Prisoner Art Project at Crossroads, says, “From there, we realized that we really needed to do something with this and to share it with other people.”
They started collecting artwork from students, and in 2009, Crossroads opened a local gallery on its campus.
Many of the art pieces carry deep spiritual meaning for the students. As they process God’s Word and how it applies to their lives, their reflections come out through creative expression.
Seeing the artwork come through the Prisoner Art Project is personally impactful for Yeong.
“When I come across the Prisoner Art Project and the work that comes in, I’m interacting with stories from people that are opening up their whole lives in a vulnerable way that I haven’t experienced before. It’s these people sharing stories of God’s goodness and grace in their lives through some very, very painful experiences.”
One of Yeong’s favorite artists in the Prisoner Art Project is a man named Mike K. in Wisconsin.
“He actually picked up a paintbrush for the first time in prison. The first piece that he shared with us is actually called ‘One Day At A Time’. It’s connected to his story of teaching himself how to paint. He talks about his experiences of every day just trying to go into the Word. But then, as he was doing that, [he was] also coupling that with his hobby of learning how to paint,” Yeong says.
“You’ll just be amazed by the amount of beauty and depth that he has in his piece…. The color and the warmth and the depth [are] just so captivating.
“He’s self-taught and in that space that he’s so confined to, there isn’t a lot of inspiration. So to see someone create that out of almost nothing is really incredible and a huge testament to God’s goodness.”
Mike also shared another piece of art inspired by the Lake Michigan lakeshore. Crossroads was having a conference by Lake Michigan and wanted to feature the artistry of their students.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh