In the world, more than 10.5 million people are in prison, of which about 7% are women. Unfortunately, from 40 to 50% of prisoners are re-incarcerated, since it is impossible to re-educate a criminal only by force and fear. Only a profound change of personality and the adoption of a new universal morality can bring the prisoner back to normal life and thus avoid new offenses. For this purpose, the project “Rehabilitation through Art” was developed.

For the implementation of the project in Zittau, Germany, a former prison with more than a century of history was purchased. The prison has an area of about 4 thousand meters, more than 300 single and double cells and rooms in a separate administrative building. At the same time, the prison was not rebuilt or used for other purposes, etc. it has an original appearance, which is very valuable.

On the basis of the prison, it is planned to organize exhibition areas, where, in addition to general exhibition halls, each country will be allocated its own premises. At the same time, it is intended not only to introduce the audience to the work of prisoners, but also to the regime, life and subculture of prisoners from different countries.

The project has the following objectives:

– rehabilitation and re-education of prisoners through the introduction to art and the development of a creative personality;
– adaptation of prisoners to life in freedom, through training them in various creative and applied skills, so that, at the end of their term of imprisonment, they can find a job or earn money by offering their works to the public for realization;
– provide additional funds to improve nutrition and purchase necessary hygiene products and medicines, by creating works of art and applied products in places of detention, followed by holding virtual and gallery-based charity auctions and sales, the proceeds of which will be transferred to prisoners; – to offer prisoners who are serving heavy sentences to help the victims of their crimes by transferring them funds from the sale of their works created in places of deprivation of liberty;
– to increase, through creativity and communication with artists, the general cultural level of prisoners, in order to instill universal morality, and, as a result, the prevention of offenses;
– identification of talented prisoners;
– to draw the attention of the public and individuals to the problems existing in places of deprivation of liberty;
– to enable prisoners to “vent” negative emotions through creativity, which is very important for their psychological rehabilitation;
– to prevent the criminalization of the personality of prisoners and the growth of the prison subculture, contrasting them with general cultural values;
– to acquaint people with the conditions of detention in prisons in different countries.

To implement these tasks, it is planned to:

– invite penitentiary institutions to inform prisoners about possible participation in training and creative competitions (painting, sculpture, performances, applied products, literature, music, videos, etc.)
– provide prisoners with the necessary materials for creativity at the expense of organizers and sponsorship donations.;
– involve artists in teaching the basics of painting, both for on-site classes and through virtual training;
– use in the work of prisoners the author’s (know-how) and patented painting techniques available to the organizers, which significantly increases the price of paintings;
– create permanent exhibitions in the building of the former prison, where you can get acquainted with the works and biographies of prisoners, both serving sentences and released;
– announce creative competitions, organize various music and theater festivals and fairs;
– organize plein-air events and master classes for the most talented prisoners at the prison;
– organize both in the gallery building and virtual charity exhibitions and auctions, where paintings and crafts of prisoners will be sold;
– enable prisoners through the implementation of their works to help the victims of crimes financially, which will be their kind of repentance before them;
– invite well-known artists to provide targeted assistance to a particular prisoner by implementing one of their paintings, for which a separate room will be allocated in the gallery;
– hold exhibitions of paintings by artists on specialized topics;
– conduct face-to-face and virtual master classes of famous artists in prisons to promote art and involve prisoners in creativity. Special attention will be paid to underage prisoners;
– find orders for creative works for the material support of prisoners;
– attract sponsors and volunteers to organize various creative events in places of detention and to communicate with prisoners with representatives of creative professions;
– promote the creative promotion of prisoners after their release in order to provide material support and prevent new offenses;
– conduct art trainings for everyone, immersing them for a day or more in the atmosphere and regime of prisons in different countries for a deep understanding of the everyday and psychological problems faced by prisoners, that is, to give an opportunity – get acquainted with the prison from the inside. What will the camera blocks be created for with the appropriate country styling, mode, power, and other entourage?;
– through the art of breaking down the prejudices and psychological barriers that many people and society as a whole experience in reload can’t get rid of action to prisoners;
– strive to ensure that every person who visits the gallery takes creative patronage over a particular prisoner;
– create a permanent exhibition of outstanding cultural figures who have passed through prisons and hard labor and did not break down (Dostoevsky, Cervantes, etc.);
– involve creative unions, public organizations, politicians, patrons, religious figures, volunteers, former prisoners, etc. in order to create prerequisites for mass assistance to prisoners.
In addition to the above, it is planned to hold various plein-airs, master classes and other events on the basis of the gallery, a hall will be allocated for the exhibition and storage of especially valuable paintings.

A call:

Due to the scale of the tasks set, we ask everyone who shares our views and wants to support people who are in prison and help victims of crimes to join us.
We will be grateful for the contact with the penitentiary institutions and individual prisoners.
For the willingness to teach, both in person and remotely, prisoners painting, drawing and other artistic skills.
For assistance in organizing creative events, participation in charity exhibitions and auctions.
For any information and material evidence (exhibits) concerning the life and subculture of prisoners from different countries.
For human participation in the fate of people in trouble. By helping others, we may be helping ourselves, because, as the proverb says, ‘Man proposes, God disposes’.

Andrey Ilyin,
The author of the project.

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