Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Monday, October 6, 1997

Crime victims to benefit from sale of inmate artwork

The New York State Department of Correctional Services is donating $3,840 to the state's Crime Victims Board, representing half of the proceeds from the sale of inmate artwork to the general public earlier this year, Commissioner Glenn S. Goord announced today.

The Department will make the presentation to Joan Cusack, chairwoman of the Crime Victims Board, at 7 p.m. today at the Pines Resort in South Fallsburg, Sullivan County. The resort is the site of this year's Annual Conference of Crime Victims Agencies, which runs from Oct. 5-10.

Over the past 14 years, proceeds from the sale of inmate artwork has resulted in donations of more than $26,500 to the Crime Victims Board, which provides financial and other needed assistance to crime victims in New York State. This year's donation - the result of the 31st Annual Correction on Canvas Art Show which was held in Albany in April - is by far the largest ever from DOCS to New York State crime victims.

"We are once again very pleased that we are able to benefit victims of crime throughout New York State from the sale of inmate artwork," said Commissioner Goord. "Through programs and initiatives such as the art show, inmates make restitution to crime victims. Crime victims are benefiting more this year than ever before because of a change instituted by this Department in the way proceeds from the sale are distributed, and crime victims will continue to see similar financial benefits in future years."

The annual art sale is cosponsored by the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections, which is chaired by Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio, R-Seneca Falls.

"The Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections fully supports programs which give inmates an opportunity to make restitution through their labor to law-abiding citizens who were victimized by their actions," said Senator Nozzolio.

"I would like to commend Commissioner Goord for increasing the financial assistance to the crime victims, through the Crime Victims Board, from the sales proceeds generated at the Correction on Canvas art show. In this respect, Correction on Canvas is a worthwhile pursuit - one which will help the innocent crime victims," said Senator Nozzolio.

"These annual gifts, which now have reached over $24,000 since the program's inception, allow the board to assist crime victims in ways that we otherwise might not be able to do," said Crime Victims Board Chairwoman Joan Cusack. "I commend Commissioner Goord and Senator Nozzolio for this year's art sale and offer my heartfelt thanks."

Previously, inmates participating in the art show - some of whom showcased more than 10 pieces of artwork a year - had to donate the proceeds from the sale of just one piece of art to the Crime Victims Board. That translated to about 15 percent of the show's annual sales. This year, as in future years, inmates will be required to donate 50 percent of the proceeds of their total sales to the Crime Victims Board. That will mean a significant increase in the amount of money going to help crime victims annually.

This year, 160 inmates submitted 750 pieces of artwork, with 110 being purchased by the general public. This year's donation of $3,840 is more than double the $1,600 that DOCS gave to the Crime Victims Board in 1996.

Inmates who provide artwork to the annual show are granted a portion of the proceeds from their sales to allow them to buy art supplies like canvases, brushes, paint, ceramic supplies, frames and other items.

The types of art sold at the annual show include oil paintings and acrylics, sculptures, wood carvings, ceramic work, leatherwork, water colors and ship carvings. Prices vary but the average price of a painting is about $50. Items often can be purchased for as little as $5-$10 to a high of $600 for an inmate painting sold at the 1994 show.

Several dealers from New York City-area art galleries have attended recent shows and purchased various pieces of inmate artwork. Some have been displayed at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City and other museums and galleries. Inmates are prohibited from selling their artwork directly to dealers but art dealers, and other interested parties, can purchase inmate artwork at the annual exhibit.