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Hampton Roads art museums to show works from local inmates

The exhibition Beyond the Block will open at each venue on November 16.
Credit: Morris Albritton, Virginia beach Correctional Center
Beyond The Block, 2019. By Morris Albritton at Virginia Beach Correctional Center. It's called Amendment 13, 14, 15. Paper, jail-safe pen, deodorant, and ink from a magazine.

VIRGINIA, USA — The Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and Peninsula Fine Arts Center have all partnered with local jail to show artwork of inmates.

The exhibition Beyond the Block will open at each venue on November 16.  It will close at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center on Jan. 5, 2020. Works will be on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art and Virginia MOCA through Feb. 9, 2020. 

The museums will feature works that were created using jail-safe pens, food, deodorant, and other materials that are allowed in correctional facilities.

“Finding opportunities for inmates to be creative with their time is important,” said Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron. “When they are given those opportunities with art programs, it can be very meaningful. There is some pretty amazing talent discovered, and then it’s rewarded with positive feedback. The lesson is to lead a productive and creative life and steer away from destructive behaviors which tend to lead them to incarceration.”

Beyond the Block is named for inmate housing units – called blocks – and the notion that the exhibition focuses on life outside of jail. The exhibition debuted at the Chrysler Museum in 2017 with work from inmates at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center. 

RELATED: Norfolk sheriff expands inmate art, educational programs

This year, the Chesapeake, Hampton and Newport News sheriff’s offices and Western Tidewater Regional Jail are new to the exhibition. The show will also include two new venues—Virginia MOCA and Peninsula Fine Arts Center.  Visitors can enjoy different artworks at each museum. 

Art is among the many forms of therapy offered at correctional facilities across the region. It allows them to discover their creativity and put their energy into an activity that is both productive and rehabilitative. 

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