Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Prisoners' art to be featured at event

by IUP News Service on April 07, 2014 10:49 AM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Criminology will host “Cellblock Visions,” a presentation by Phyllis Kornfeld on her work teaching art to inmates in prison, on April 15 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Fisher Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the community.

Kornfeld has been teaching art to inmates in prisons, from minimum security to death row, since 1983. She is an internationally known expert on prison art and offers a presentation which has been described as “showing powerful images and eloquent quotes that reveal this unseen subculture and illuminate the human faces of its inhabitants.”

She uses the art to highlight that prisoners are human beings with potential for good and creativity, and speaks from her personal experience with the artists, their processes, and the prison environment in which the work was created.

In her presentation, she shares quotes from incarcerated men and women designed to provide insight into their lives, art and imprisonment.

Paintings and drawings by the inmates in her program artists have been illustrated in a variety of publications and shown in galleries.

More information about her program is available at

Several pieces of the artwork produced through Kornfeld’s program are on display in IUP’s Stapleton Library.

Kornfeld has been a painter and art teacher for many years.

She is currently doing work in prisons in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She is the author of “Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America,” and writes essays and articles for various publications, lectures widely and curates exhibitions of the work.

She is the founder of the public project “Incarcerated Men and Women Making Art for a Cause,” which offers the opportunity for inmates to reach out to people in need.

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