New U of L Exhibit Showcases Prison Art

by Devin Katayama on August 19, 2011

A new art exhibit called “Bars to Walls” begins Friday at the University of Louisville, which showcases artwork from Kentucky state prisoners.

Around 70 inmates from nine different prisons are participating in the exhibit. Cory Maynard is one of the few artists who will be able to see their artwork in public. He’s a current parolee who now lives in Ohio. He never painted before becoming an inmate, but then he created a large mural in Unit 5, he said.

“In the actual painting it’s a man who gets arrested. It’s a man who goes through depression, loneliness, anger, fear, you name it. It tries to depict, well I guess, what an addict feels and goes through; and then how to get back on his feet, how to make a man out of something that wasn’t,” said Maynard.

The mural depicts the life of an addict, he said. Pictures of the mural are at the exhibit. Maynard said had he not gone to prison, he might not have known he could paint. He felt lucky to have the chance and resources to paint the mural, which he estimates is 11 by 30 feet wide.

“My art, it was a long shot. For it to even be up there, it was a feat that most people don’t get to do. I was just one of the lucky guys I guess,” he said.

Only two of the artists have the chance to see their artwork in public, said Kathy Salomon, the U of L doctoral student who is organizing the exhibit. But she said that parts of the exhibit will be videotaped and shown later to the inmates.

There are pictures of the mural at the exhibit, which runs until Sept. 25 at U of L’s Art Hite Galleries.

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