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Art exhibition shows injustices in the prison system


Students in the ART 472: Graphic Design Capstone Experience class spent three semesters researching, developing and creating a project together that reflects the injustices within the American penitentiary system.

The “In the System” art exhibition is intended to give viewers a realistic representation of the prison experience. It opened at the University Art Gallery on April 1 and will be on display until April 15. There will be a celebratory reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.

“The system is all around us and we are all in the system,” said David Stairs, instructor of the capstone course. “It’s why we chose such a generic name for the exhibit.”

By using a variety of art forms, such as paintings, animations and live performances, the 18 capstone students collaborated their talents to demonstrate the poor conditions of prisons while humanizing the prisoners themselves.

Gallery visitors will also be instructed to walk in a specific way throughout the exhibit, with their movements controlled, to represent the constraint inflicted on prisoners.

Stairs said students were able to “lose their identity” with this project, to dedicate themselves toward using art to make a social difference for the greater good.

“We (are) trying to bring awareness and encourage conversation,” said Rockford senior Austin Scogg, a student in the class. “If we do that, we’ve done our job.”