Incarceration Inspired Display at Art Center

An incarceration inspired exhibit is going on display in Salina. Cell Drawings, an exhibition by artist Benjamin Todd Wills will be on display at Salina Art Center November 20 – January 5.

According to the Art Center, Wills has been corresponding with inmates for years. When he began, many of the first responses came from people who had been housed in solitary confinement. Over the years, Wills has collected a large number of cell drawings. The drawings all depict essentially identical spaces, but they come on different colored papers, some with 3D shading, some as birds’ eye views with everything labeled. “Bed mat is about 1½ inches thick,” one reads.

Wills took one of these drawings and built it to its real-life dimensions. Stepping inside feels like entering a strange, cartoon world, where one is immediately aware of the confines of the space—eight feet long, six feet wide and ten feet high.

Gallery admission is always free. While visiting Cell Drawings, guests can also see AVAP | a scientific inquiry and Grey Area | works by Chris Pahls.

The Art Center strives to enrich, inspire, educate, engage, and foster creativity. It’s all done by creating exchanges among art, artists, and audiences that reveal life. Cell Drawings is generously underwritten by Reaching Out From Within volunteers at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility.

Everyone is encouraged to engage in FREE programming for Cell Drawings at Salina Art Center, 242 S. Santa Fe.

Programming includes:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 20; noon-1pm Lunch & Learn | Cell Spaces

Learn what decisions go into creating spaces for incarceration and how community norms are listened to and incorporated. Panelists are Jeff Lane, architect with TreanorHL, LaNay Meier, member of the Saline County Citizens for Jail Reform, and Janell Murphey, certified mediator and administrator of Salina Initiative for Restorative Justice and former policewoman. Bring a sack lunch.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 4; 7pm Incarcerated People & Human Dignity | Community Discussion

Bob Bow and Joan Jackson, volunteers with Reaching Out from Within, join artist Benjamin Todd Wills to discuss issues of incarceration, focusing on art and storytelling as powerful tools for inmates as they journey toward self-acceptance and reaching out to others in order to become healthier, productive members of a community.

  • Friday, December 6; 5-7pm Artist reception for Cell Drawings. Wills will give a brief gallery talk at 6pm.