Inside Out, an installation of paintings and drawings by inmates participating in an ongoing educational program-now in its fifth consecutive year-- developed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the State Correctional Institution at Frackville, will be on view in the Museum's Education Corridor on the ground floor from September 1 through October 12, 1998. The exhibition presents 77 works by 23 artists who work in their cells in a variety of media, including watercolor, pastel, graphite, acrylic, ink and colored pencil. Inside Out also showcases the framing, matting and calligraphy skills of other inmates from the maximum-security prison.
Although most of the participating inmates are self-taught artists, many of the works in Inside Out reflect the influence of a program of art-history slide lectures and discussions organized by the Museum's Division of Education and held at Frackville. This year's classes, which were presented by Carol Wisker, the Museum's Coordinator of Programs for Special Audiences, related to the Museum's permanent collections, focussing on the works of Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Thomas Moran, Eduard Charlemont and others. Painting and drawing studio demonstrations devoted to the still-life and the human figure gave inmates the opportunity to experiment with styles and techniques borrowed from historical and contemporary art. The program's participants bring a range of life experiences, including their experience of prison, to the classroom and to their art, although most of them have never been to a museum or gallery. While a number of the inmates can apply skills in tattoo art to their work, for many the classes represent their first contact with art of any kind.