Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Board hosts Art Symposium at maximum-security prison

ANGOLA, LA. – Since its establishment in April 1997, the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum has proven to be a great resource for all interested in learning more about crime, criminal justice and corrections in Louisiana as well as the infamous history of the state’s largest and oldest penitentiary. An estimated 1,000 visitors each month from across the state, nation and also foreign countries have toured the storied prison and have begun their tour at the Museum. Every year the Museum hosts an open event, free to the public to bring more awareness about Angola’s unique museum, the first of its kind in the nation.

Warden Burl Cain often states that allowing inmates to be creative in safe and secure ways allows them to release frustrations and expressions that help to keep the massive prison community non-violent and productive. Inmates have often discovered untapped artistic talents within themselves while incarcerated. Twice a year, thousands of people come to purchase inmate art and hobbycraft during the Angola Prison Rodeos held on the third weekend of April and every Sunday in October. People are amazed at the creativity they discover when attending these sold out events.

This year’s symposium will feature inmate art as well as a collection of artwork collected from the people most affected by crime, criminals and corrections. Attendees to this symposium will also see selected paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs donated for display from crime victims and survivors, family members of inmates and prison employees and their families. The artwork will be showcased at various historic locations on the prison including the Red Hat Cellblock, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Gates open to the public at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2008. Registration is free however lunch can be purchased for $5.00 a head. Inmate bands will perform at lunch time. Artists including professionals Debra Luster and CD Wright of One Big Self – Inmates of Louisiana, inmates, and employees will be on hand to discuss the inspiration behind their artwork.

All media is welcome to attend. For media credentials to attend the Angola Art Symposium, contact: Cathy Fontenot at 225.665.2897 / cathyfontenot@doc.la.gov