Arts & Culture

OU Museum of Art reopens with free admission, new exhibit “Art from the Inside”

After more than a year of virtual programming, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art will reopen with new hours and free general admission starting Sept. 24.

On view will be the only annual exhibition of art by prisoners in the state of Georgia, “HeartBound Ministries: Art from the Inside,” which will run from Sept. 24 – Dec. 20, 2021.

A painting of Lupton Hall at Oglethorpe University

Stephen H., Untitled, 2021, acrylic on canvas. Based on the original photograph Lupton Hall and Car, ca. 1927, photographer unknown, Oglethorpe Construction Album, Collection of the Philip Weltner Library of Oglethorpe University

“Art from the Inside” is comprised of approximately 60 works—all skillfully produced by more than 50 artists currently incarcerated at Walker State Prison in Rock Spring. The exhibition features an impressive range of artistic styles and mediums, from vibrant acrylic paintings to detailed ink portraits.

“This exhibit showcases the remarkable and often hidden talents of just a few of the more than 48,000 people who are serving time in Georgia prisons,” says HeartBound Ministries Founder and President Andrea Shelton ’91, an Oglethorpe alumna. “As you’ll see in the show, imagination can transport a person far beyond a 6’x9′ prison cell.”

All works will be available for purchase, with 100 percent of the proceeds and at-will donations to benefit HeartBound’s Little Readers program, which allows children of incarcerated parents to see and hear their parent reading to them via DVD.  A full-scale outline of a Walker State prison cell will also be included in the exhibit, along with information on helpful ways to volunteer with incarcerated individuals.

“Continuing to make strong community connections, particularly to organizations like HeartBound Ministries that embrace diversity and do social good, remains a high priority,” says Museum Director Elizabeth Peterson.

An ink painting of a mother and child

David W., Mother & Child, 2021, Ink on Paper, Courtesy of the Artist

It was exactly that drive to cultivate community connections that led Peterson to eliminate general admission fees at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. In a standard year, the museum draws thousands of visitors from around the metro Atlanta area and beyond.

“Over these months of closure, we have been busy retooling how OUMA interacts with the public and what drives our goals and aspirations,” says Peterson.

“Offering free general admission is part of that initiative.”

In addition to “Art from the Inside,” the museum will host several guest lecturers, including HeartBound Ministries Prison Chaplain Omar Howard and Founding Director Andrea Shelton ’91, as well as Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Chris Martin. A fall music performance in the museum’s spacious Skylight Gallery is also planned.

Please visit OUMA’s website for more information.

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