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Creative Solutions

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Dear editor:

I have been working closely with inmates who create art for 12 years. Their artwork has been shown in galleries and museums in New York, Indiana, Georgia, Michigan, and Illinois. I was very interested to read the Reader [July 13] and Chicago Tribune stories on the intended official declaration of a ban on art supplies in Illinois prisons. This is something that the artists have to deal with every time they are moved from one facility to another. Artists all around the country tell me that art supplies are frequently "banned," depending on the whim of the particular warden at their prison. I just received a letter from an inmate artist in Santa Fe who told me that he is no longer allowed to use glitter, since it might be used as a weapon (?). It's truly amazing that people try to stop others from producing art; it simply can't be done. Inmate artists have shown that a bar of soap, charcoal from burnt matches, potato chip bags, unraveled socks and underwear, and even toilet paper can all be used as a medium for someone who must create.

Lynne Bailey

artfromtheinside@earthlink.net

N. Ashland

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