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:

Wednesday March 28, 2001

Correction on Canvas Art Show, now in its 35th year, opens April 2

The 35th Annual Correction on Canvas Art Show - in which various media of artwork by inmates are exhibited and available for purchase by the general public - opens with a public reception at 5 p.m. April 2 in the lower lobby level of the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

The exhibit will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 3-12.

For the fifth consecutive year, 50 percent of the proceeds from the art show will be donated to the Crime Victims Board, an advocacy group which provides financial and other needed assistance to crime victims throughout New York state. Over the past 16 years, more than $40,000 has been donated to the Crime Victims Board through the sale of inmate artwork. That includes a record donation of $5,724 last year, a figure officials hope to duplicate this year.

"The Department of Correctional Services is to be commended for continuing this worthwhile 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 Correction on Canvas contribute to that restitution."

DOCS Commissioner Glenn S. Goord said: "Inmates indeed have a responsibility to make restitution to their innocent victims. That's why programs like this art show are so important - inmates truly are making meaningful restitution to crime victims. And as a result of a change instituted by the Department in 1997 regarding the way proceeds from the art show are distributed, crime victims now receive even more financial restitution than they did before."

Prior to 1997, 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 substantial increase in the amount of money going to help crime victims.

This year's show will feature two changes. First, people can take whatever they purchase at the show home with them at the time of sale. At previous shows, all purchasers had to wait until the conclusion of the event to claim their items. Also, due to an overwhelming response by show patrons last year, a greater number of household plants and other horticulture items grown by inmates at six facilities will be made available for purchase this year.

The Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections co-sponsors the annual event because "we fully support programs which give inmates an opportunity to make retribution through their labor to the law abiding citizens who were violated by their actions," said Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, chairman of the Senate committee. "Correction on Canvas is a worthwhile pursuit - one which indeed helps innocent 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. Inmates do not receive any proceeds from the sale of household plants and other horticulture items sold at the show; all of that money goes directly to crime victims.

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 regularly attend the annual shows and have 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 entering into any contractual arrangements to sell their artwork directly to dealers but art dealers are not precluded from buying inmate artwork at the annual exhibit.