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, April 7, 1997

Crime victims to benefit from sale of inmate artwork

ALBANY - The 31st Annual Correction on Canvas Art Show - in which various forms of artwork by New York State prison inmates are available for purchase by the general public - is scheduled from April 9-17 in the lower lobby level of the Legislative Office Building.

Fifty percent of the proceeds from this year's art show will be donated the Crime Victims Board, which provides financial and other needed assistance to crime victims in New York State. Over the past 13 years, more than $22,500 has been donated to the Crime Victims Board through the sale of inmate artwork, including a donation of $2,000 last year.

"Once again, victims of crime throughout New York State will benefit from the sale of inmate artwork at the Annual Correction on Canvas Art Show," said Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services. "And this year, because of a change instituted by this Department, crime victims will derive even more benefits from the sale of inmate artwork."

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, inmates are required to donate 50 percent of the proceeds of their total sales to the Crime Victims Board, which Commissioner Goord said will mean a significant increase in the amount of money going to help crime victims. The Department expects more than $4,000 to be donated to the Crime Victims Board through this year's art show.

Inmates who provide artwork to the 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 Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections fully supports programs which give inmates the opportunity to make retribution through their labor to the law-abiding citizens who were violated by their actions," said state Senator Michael Nozzolio, R-Seneca Falls, who chairs the Senate crime committee.

"I would like to commend Commissioner Goord for increasing the financial assistance to the crime victims, through the Crime Victims Board, from the sales 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.

"This annual art show allows inmates, through constructive effort, to repay some of their debt to society," said Crime Victims Board Chairwoman Joan Cusack. "Victims are benefited through the funds that go to the Board's Gifts and Bequests account, and inmates can channel their energies into something positive. The Department of Correctional Services is to be commended."

The types of art sold at the annual show include oil paintings and acrylics, sculptures, wood carvings, ceramic work, leatherwork, water colors, ship carvings and occasionally unique items - like cartoon characters carved from bars of soap.

Last year, 213 of the 850 pieces of artwork submitted by 182 inmates at prisons throughout New York State were sold for a total of $10,500. Officials expect about 600 pieces of artwork to be available for sale at this year's show. 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.

The show opens at 5 p.m. April 9 and will be open from 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. daily through April 17.