The Fortune Society's 7th Annual Prisoner Art Show
November 27 - December 22, 2006 The men and women who submit their paintings, drawings and sculptures to The Fortune Society’s Annual Prisoner Art Show don’t have access to conventional supplies. Many never received any formal training or had any interest in art before they were arrested. Nevertheless, the circumstances of their incarceration compel them to create, using the materials they have at their disposal: coffee grounds, beet juice, M&M’s. Their work reflects the isolation, memory and longing that punctuate prison life.
The Fortune Society's 7th Annual Prisoner Art Show is free and open to the public. The posters are on display in the Walter Reade Theater’s Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at Lincoln Center. Gallery hours are 2-8 pm daily.
On Saturday, December 9th and Sunday, December 10th we will host artist lectures and discussions featuring Phyllis Kornfeld, internationally known prison art expert as well as residents of the Fortune Academy, the Fortune Society’s award-winning housing facility in West Harlem. These events begin each day at 2pm and are free and open to the public. On Wednesday, December 13th a gala cocktail party and live auction will be held in the Furman Gallery, hosted by Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the work of The Fortune Society.
This unique exhibit celebrates the role of artistic expression in the rehabilitation process and supports the work of The Fortune Society, an organization dedicated to strengthening the fabric of our communities by promoting successful prisoner re-entry.
Our newsletter, Fortune News, which is distributed in prisons across the country, invited inmates to submit work for the show and auction, with the understanding that proceeds from all sales would be used to support Fortune’s services for people coming out of prison. Over 230 pieces were received.
The complete catalog of all works submitted for Fortune’s 7th Annual Prisoner Art Show – all of which is available for sale – can be viewed on our online auction site. The 22 pieces selected to hang in the Furman Gallery were chosen by a curatorial committee of art experts like Brooke Davis Anderson of the American Folk Art Museum and Rebecca Hoffberger of the American Visionary Art Museum.
Numerous studies have shown that access to creative, constructive activities improves order within prisons and helps men and women reintegrate back into their communities upon release. For many of the artists, the recognition they receive from this event –simply having their name listed on the website – is deeply meaningful.
“My art is what keeps me going day after day and year after year. I never in my life had as much joy as art brings me now.”
Another artist, recently released, shared this insight:
“For me and many others, this art show is a powerful validation of our talent. Most of us are ignorant of the value of our work and in that, ignorant of the value of ourselves. By securing a gallery and treating us as human beings, your organization is acknowledging and reaching out to the best in us. It is the path to healing.”
This belief – that rehabilitation can only come when people are treated humanely – is reflected not only in The Fortune Society’s Prisoner Art Show, but also in the work that Fortune does everyday. Over 95% of the 2.1 million people currently incarcerated in the United States will someday be free – in New York State alone over 100,000 prisoners are released each year to resume their lives. For nearly 40 years The Fortune Society has worked with this historically underserved population, providing education, counseling and other valuable life-skills training to help those re-entering to become contributing members of society. The 7th Annual Prisoner Art Show is a month-long celebration of creativity in the face of despair.
For inquires specific to our Prisoner Art Show, or to purchase tickets to the benefit auction, please contact Kristen Kidder at
or 212.691.7554 ext. 553.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center presents curated exhibits in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater that either compliment the programming or are film related art shows. Inaugurated in 1991, the space was designed by prestigious architectural firm Davis Brody and named in honor of the Furmans, longtime supporters of the Film Society.