ARTISTIC inmates of Lewes Prison staged an exhibition of their work at Christ Church, Lewes, as part of Artwave 2012.
The show was opened by Cllr Tony Nicholson, Chairman of Lewes District Council, and his wife Angela.
Prison Governor Robin Eldridge also visited and paid tribute to the work that is being done by and with the prisoners.
He said: “Encouraging prisoners to produce paintings could prompt them to participate in other educational activities within the prison which would give them skills to cope better with life outside”.
The £320 raised from the sale of paintings will be going to Homelink, the charity of churches together in Lewes, Newhaven and Seaford who help local homeless people into private accommodation.
Prison Art has also been sponsored by a local NADFAS group, Newick and District, and its Chairman Ken Jordan has been a very active force in the project.
He said: “Most DFAS [Decorative and Fine Art Societies] run projects using art to help their local communities. Newick is unique in working with the local prison. I hope other Societies elsewhere in the country will follow our lead.”
Cllr Nicholson said he intended to explore the possibility of creating closer links between the District Council and the various charities and agencies working to rehabilitate the prisoners and reduce the risk of them re-offending.
The paintings cover many subjects but birds are particularly popular as there is an aviary in the prison. Three of these, with their handler, also came to the show. Sitting out on their perches in the garden, they were popular with children and adults alike.
Creative writing is another subject taught in the prison and various examples of inmates’ work was also on show.
Lewes MP Norman Baker, who closed the show, was warm in his praise of the work done by the prisoners. “This initiative will reach the prisoners where other initiatives fail,” he said.