In our art workshops we create an environment in which participants can learn technical skills and create works which are personally meaningful. We bring in as much reference material as we can to provide examples and inspiration. This includes books, magazines, and handouts on topics such as perspective, drawing the head, and color-mixing. We work with a combination of structure and individual exploration. There are lessons on topics such as color, portraiture, and shading. Also each participant is encouraged to work on their own individual project. Often these projects are inspired by the material we bring in. Sometimes an inmate comes in with a specific project and we work with him or her, discovering what skills and additional knowledge would be helpful.
The art workshops provide an environment that is conducive for both private introspection and shared appreciation of each other's work. We have seen wonderful examples of progress in artistic growth, and many of the artists from our workshops have participated in our Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners at the University of Michigan. Most of the artists in the juvenile facilities participate in our annual exhibition of art by incarcerated youth.