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Beyond Prison Artist Alliance | Emotional States

Wednesday, August 5 – Saturday, September 12

Online Discussion with Beyond Prison Artist Alliance
September 4, 5PM
Email info@toeriverarts.org to RSVP

Toe River Arts announces the opening of Emotional States, an exhibition of works by artists in the Beyond Prison Artist Alliance, at its Spruce Pine Gallery August 5 – September 12. 

The Beyond Prison Artist Alliance is a community of artists incarcerated at Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution (AMCI) and artists affiliated with the Penland School of Craft and Appalachian State University networks, who joined to facilitate short and long form workshops within the prison. 

Beyond Prison’s mission is to build artistic community through collaborative education efforts within the prison and the pursuit of exhibition opportunities that amplify the voices of incarcerated artists to the outside world. Beyond Prison aspires to be a human and empowering presence that relies on all participants and a broader creative community to imagine art as an essential tool of liberation. Artists Daniel Beck and Sarah Rose Lejeune explain, “Our classroom philosophy is rooted in reciprocal learning and active participation.” In a personal statement for the exhibition, AMCI artist Frederick Brason describes his creative practice, writing, “It’s not what comes out of the process that is most important but what happens in him during the process.” Another AMCI artist, Edwin Paul Riegger writes in his artist statement, “he has a need or desire to create that supersedes all other needs and wants. A need to create something even if it’s a cluttered mess. For even in the clutter, a confined solace and comfort of the mind can be found.” 

This exhibition is open to the public as well as online at toeriverarts.org. In lieu of an opening reception, Sarah Rose Lejeune and Daniel Beck will give an artist talk about the pieces in the exhibition and the Beyond Prison Artist Alliance program more broadly, describing the program’s role within AMCI and situating this work within the broader field of prison art programs. Toe River Arts will host a live Zoom discussion on Friday, September 4 at 5 PM. This event will be an in-depth conversation about the evolution of the program over the last three years, and the ways that their classes use art as a tool for building community. To attend this online event, email info@toeriverarts.org to RSVP.

Beyond Prison facilitates two, ninety-minute classes on a weekly basis. However, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety has suspended all personal visitation and volunteer programming in state prisons, stalling the in-person meetings of Beyond Prison since March 11. AMCI Volunteer Coordinator Angela Lamm has continued to support the program by relaying information and facilitating the transfer of artwork for the exhibition.

Work by AMCI incarcerated artists will not be sold, but work by Penland and ASU will be available for purchase. The proceeds will be invested in the local community in the name of the Beyond Prison Artist Alliance artists.

The Beyond Prison Artist Alliance would not be possible without the tireless work of AMCI Volunteer Coordinator Angela Lamm and Penland School of Craft’s Community Collaborations Manager Stacey Lane, the grant writing efforts of Nancy Lowe, and the support of Penland School of Craft. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.

This exhibition will be open to the public during normal operating hours. The Spruce Pine Gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30 AM to 5 PM. Cloth face coverings worn over the mouth and nose are required while visiting.

Please reach out to the Beyond Prison Artist Alliance for additional information at BeyondPrisonArtistAlliance@gmail.com.

Daniel T. Beck
Component of Disrepair
Concrete, steel

Audrey Bell
How to find what you’re looking for
Graphite on paper

Ted Brason
God Bless the Rains 1
Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencil and mineral solvent on vellum Bristol board

Ted Brason
God Bless the Rains 2
Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencil and mineral solvent on vellum Bristol board

Ted Brason
Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencil and mineral solvent on vellum Bristol board

Ted Brason
Elephant in the Bush
Faber-Castell 9000 graphite pencils on vellum Bristol board

David H. Clemons
An Uncertain Measure of Calm
Sterling silver, Oak, Garnet, Chalk Paint

Cristina Córdova

Annie Evelyn
Mini Windsor Flower chair
Wood, mini fake flowers

Bri Gribben
The Long, Bright Dawn of the Soul
Fabric, thread, yarn, and found materials

Corey Higgins
Bird Sight
White charcoal on top of graphite on paper

William Hopkins
Bristol board, paper, book board, Q-tips, modeling clay, mylar, cornstarch, baby powder, acrylic paint, enamel paint

William Hopkins 
Acrylic paint on paper

Edward Hyleman
Colored pencil on paper

Mikie “Echo” Inscoe
Acrylic paint and grease crayon on paper

David Jones #0679779
Aretha 1942-2019
Pencil, charcoal on paper


Sarah Rose Lejeune
Just trying to be sweet (from The Souvenir Series)
Prismacolor on copper

Janet Link
Migration 22
Charcoal on paper

Nancy Lowe
Ghost Farms of the Gambia
(from the Mapping Change series)
Old linen, cotton thread & string, glass ampule, North Carolina clay, black birch twig

Timothy Maddox
Paper Signs of Anxiety No. 190 (Deals! Deals! Deals!)
Fluorescent Red Banner Paper & Tempera Paint

Timothy Maddox 
Paper Signs of Anxiety No. 189 (Today Only)
Fluorescent Red Banner Paper & Tempera Paint

Rachel Meginnes 
Handwoven quilt fragments and linen

Robert G. Reid
Micro pigment ink on paper

Robert G. Reid
Watercolor on paper

Edwin Riegger
ER Lift
Bristol board, tape, corrugated cardboard, paper, colored pencil, water marker, string, Q-tips, acrylic paint, ball point pen, toilet paper, coffee stirrers, pencils, foil candy wrapper, Little Debbie boxes, cloth

Edwin Riegger 
ER Lift 1
Ink, Crayola colored pencils, #2 HB pencil on paper

Edwin Riegger 
Log Book
Paper, tape, pencil, colored pencil

Edwin Riegger
The Bell is Silent
Corrugated cardboard, pastel, canvas, colored pencil, ink, #2 pencil, cloth, Bristol board, Little Debbie cake box, potato chip bag, foil candy wrapper, clear tape, water markers, rolled paper, rear cover of Strathmore sketch pad

Edwin Riegger
29 Bells
Colored pencil, paper, tape, ball point pen

Hannah Roman
Hell’s a Roarin’
Acrylic on panel

Juan “Artistic Vomit” Santiago
Colored pencil on paper

Juan “Artistic Vomit” Santiago
Colored pencil on paper

Michael “Bird” Sheets
Watercolor on handmade abaca paper

Albert Stabler
Compassionate Release
Mixed media on paper

Vic Suter
Spray paint, ink, monotype prints, acrylic, collage, gesso and paper on canvas

Leon Ward
The Mill
Pencil on paper

Leon Ward
Pencil on paper