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, March 23, 2998

Crime victims to benefit from sale of inmate artwork

ALBANY - The 32nd Annual Correction on Canvas Art Show - in which various media of artwork by New York State prison inmates are exhibited and available for purchase by the general public - is scheduled from March 24-April 3 in the lower lobby level of the Legislative Office Building.

The exhibit opens at 5 p.m. tomorrow and will continue daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through April 3.

For the second consecutive year, 50 percent of the proceeds from the art show will be donated to the Crime Victims Board, which provides financial and other needed assistance to crime victims in New York State. Over the past 14 years, more than $26,500 has been donated to the Crime Victims Board through the sale of inmate artwork. That includes a donation of $3,840 last year - a record high that is expected to be surpassed this year.

"The Department of Correctional Services is to be commended for this program, which once again will benefit crime victims throughout New York State," said Governor George E. Pataki. "Crime victims are entitled to restitution for the losses and pains they have suffered, and programs like this provide that restitution."

Commissioner Glenn S. Goord of the Department of Correctional Services said inmates have a responsibility to provide restitution to crime victims.

"That's why programs like this annual Correction on Canvas art show are so important, because inmates truly are making meaningful restitution to crime victims," said Commissioner Goord. "And because of a change instituted by the Department last year regarding the way proceeds from the art show are distributed, crime victims now receive even more financial restitution than they did before."

Prior to last year, inmates participating in the art show - some of whom showcase 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 into about 15 percent of the show's annual sales. But inmates now are required to donate 50 percent of the proceeds of their total sales to the Crime Victims Board, and that meant a 140 percent increase in the amount of money going to help crime victims in 1997.

Last year, 160 inmates submitted 750 pieces of artwork, with 110 being purchased by the general public. The $3,840 donated to the Crime Victims Board was more than double the $1,600 donated in 1996, a direct result of the new requirement that 50 percent of all proceeds go to crime victims.

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 media on display at the annual show includes 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. 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.