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Museum Minute: Art is a Form of Freedom


On March 4, the museum will open “Art is a form of freedom,” an exhibition for which incarcerated women selected the works on view and wrote prose and poetry in response to them. Since 2021, Callan Steinmann, the museum’s curator of education, has worked with Caroline Young at UGA, who is the site director for the Common Good Atlanta program at Whitworth Women’s Facility, in Hartwell. Common Good Atlanta, founded in 2010, provides people who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated with access to higher education by connecting Georgia’s colleges and professors with Georgia’s prison classrooms.

Students in Young's UGA English class considered how they might bring a museum experience to incarcerated women. They learned about the museum’s collection and selected over 140 works of art to share with the incarcerated students through art kits that included high-quality reproductions of each work of art, information about the artist, relevant historical context and questions to prompt reflections and interpretation.

Young and Don Chambers (who is a UGA Faculty member and an instructor for Common Good Atlanta) then integrated these art kits into their course curriculum at Whitworth Women’s Facility. Incarcerated students there engaged with the art through close looking, discussion, creative writing and art making. They then narrowed down a selection of works of art that were personally meaningful and resonant for them. The works they chose and the writing that accompanies them relate to themes of identity, motherhood, incarceration, home, childhood, social issues, memory and mysteries. “Art is a form of freedom” will be on view at the museum through July 2.

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