Prison art on show at two Leicester museums

By Muhsin Cabdi

An art exhibition featuring works of art from inmates of the local prison is currently on display in Leicester’s New Walk Museum and the Soft Touch Art Gallery.

The Unlocked exhibition was revealed to the public on September 14 and the last day to see the showcase is this Friday (Oct 12).

The Soft Touch Arts Centre on Leicester’s New Walk was created as a participatory arts program in the Leicester community for disadvantaged children, such as children expelled from schools or children with difficulties and issues back home.

It provides free art lessons taught by art instructors for the children, as well as food on site prepared by voluntary workers.

The exhibition is free to view at both the Soft Touch Arts Centre and the New Walk Museum and visitors are encouraged to take a look at the vibrant displays of artistic creativity.

It features a range of collections, submitted under aliases, from men serving sentences at HMP Leicester as well as those who have completed their sentences and returned to their communities.

Sally Norman, a volunteer at the Soft Touch Art Gallery and supervisor of the exhibition, worked on the program, which was aimed at prisoners and inmates of the local prison.

Sally said: “It is the results of the first year of a three-year program which is looking at whether creative art is beneficial for mental health and wellbeing.

“It is about unlocking potential and unlocking creativity and unlocking positive mental health and wellbeing.”

The exhibition is not a competition as the purpose behind it is not discovering artistic talents and more about what art can do for them.

As such there will be no awards given for exceptional works of art in the exhibition.

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