Art Out of Bounds

By on 9 April, 2013 in Art, Carole King with 0 Comments

Three organizations Come Together for Benefit Art Show:

Art Created by Men and Women in Prison or Re-entry Programs


A first-time collaborative effort involving Aid to Inmate Mothers (AIM), Landmarks Foundation and Renascence Re-Entry Community is coming together in “Art Out of Bounds,” an art show and reception featuring works by the women of AIM and the men of Renascence at the Old Alabama Town Reception Center, 301 Columbus Street. Landmarks Foundation will host the art show during the month of April, with a special reception on Thursday, April 11, 5-8 p.m.

Artworks will include paintings on wood and canvas as well as mosaics and sculptures. Many of the artists will be on hand during the first half of the reception, 5-6:30 p.m., to discuss their art and meet potential buyers. Admission to the reception is $40 a person and $75 a couple.  Proceeds from admissions and donations will be split equally among the three organizations.  Proceeds from the sale of art will be reinvested in the art project.

The introduction of art as a facet of the Renascence Re-entry program began in early 2012. “Art has no bounds and neither do the people that create it,” said Mark Montoya, the founder of the art project and one of the art teachers. Montoya and other local artists began mentoring the Renascence residents in a small art studio they created behind the Renascence House on Clayton Street that serves as a transitional home for men newly released from incarceration.

Seeing the success of that program, Montoya contacted Aid to Inmate Mothers and initiated an art program for women still in prison and those newly released.  He has announced plans to help the residents find markets for their art by starting an organization called “The Alabama Folk’s Art Project.”

“These artists are willing to try things they have never done before, and with no formal training, they create amazing visual treats,” he said.

Dana Dunklin, executive director of Renascence Re-entry Community and Carol Potok, executive director of Aid to Inmate Mothers, agree. “The art sessions utilize the power of the creative process as a tool for self-expression and personal growth, said Dunklin, “and it helps our residents develop and enhance social skills through group participation on specific art projects.”

“AIM participants leaped at the chance to participate in Mark’s group,” said Potok. “Creating art objects gives our women a chance to step outside themselves and remember that there are still many possibilities in the world for them. There is so much untapped talent—the art group both gives rise to their creativity and increases their self-confidence,” she said. “The women look forward to their weekly art sessions, and feel really good about the products. We are so grateful to Mark for bringing this project to AIM.”

Bob McLain, executive director of Landmarks Foundation, said Old Alabama Town is a great venue for such an event. “We get thousands of visitors in the spring and we are happy to help these artists by showcasing their work,” he said.

Montoya said the benefit the ex-offenders will gain from their art exhibit is far beyond any monetary gain they may realize. “When these ex-offenders, many of them with past drug addiction issues, see that everyday people can enjoy something they have created, they feel a great sense of worth,” he observed. “That sense of worth is a valuable part of the recovery process,” he said.

Media Contact: Ami Simpson,

Information about the art show can be found on the Renascence web site at Information on Aid to Inmate Mothers is available at For information on Landmarks Foundation, see

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