University of Arizona Museum of Art

For those who are incarcerated, creating artwork is a privilege. This summer, University Museum of Art staff and members of the Department of English’s Prison Education Project led workshops on art appreciation, label writing and art jurying at seven units of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson.

This partnership led to a special exhibition, Hobby Craft.

“I found artwork as a means of escape to kind of get out — get out of my head, get out of this environment,” said Bruce Ward, an inmate at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson.

When he puts pencil to paper, Ward said he feels free, despite spending more than a decade behind bars.

“That’s a story I try to gloss over, but [I went to prison for an] aggravated assault,” he said. “I’m no longer the person I was when I was [first] incarcerated, the person who committed that crime.”

Ward said he found a new identity and purpose in prison.

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