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Guest Happenings at the Paradigm Arts Building: Mural Art's "Art Beyond Bars"

Posted on February 07 2024

Artwork by Charles Harrison.
Art Beyond Bars: The View from Here
An Exhibition of artworks from Incarcerated Artists at San Quentin and SCI Phoenix
March 1 – March 24, 2024

"The range and depth of stories and art to be shared from those who are incarcerated can never be underestimated!"

-Carol Newberg, San Quentin Prison Arts Project

Mural Arts Philadelphia and the William James Association present The View from Here, a groundbreaking showcase of artwork from artists incarcerated at San Quentin, California, and SCI Phoenix, Pennsylvania. This unique exhibition will run from March 1 to March 24, with open hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Paradigm Arts Building, 12 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. The exhibition will open on March 1 from 5-8 pm.

Over the past year, incarcerated artists from San Quentin Rehabilitation Center and SCI Phoenix have corresponded, creating a bridge between the innovative art programs of both prisons. Both facilities boast long-standing art programs with impacts extending beyond their walls. This exhibition, a first of its kind, assembles a group show from currently incarcerated artists from the East and West Coasts. The theme, The View from Here, emerged from the artists’ communications, exploring life inside prison and the realms where their minds wander beyond its gates.

Artwork by Darwin Billingsley.

Exhibiting artists include Raul Aguayo, Keith Andrews, Shelton Alford, Darwin Billingsley, Stan-Bey, Rev. M. Seishin Cadiz, Al Collantes, Jon D. Goldberg, James Green, Charles Harrison, Roy Holloway, Robert Kuikahi, Charles Lawson, Brad Odell, Erick Maciel, George Red, Eduardo Ramirez, Felix Rodriguez, Robert E. Rigler, Paul Stauffer, Mark Stanley, Thomas Schilk, Tommy Tongpalan.

The exhibition, curated by Phoebe Bachman of Mural Arts and Carol Newborg from the William James Association, will feature artwork from incarcerated artists at both prisons, alongside letters exchanged between the artists. The collection will be displayed in Philadelphia and the Bay Area, reflecting a bi-coastal collaboration. This project is funded by Art for Justice.

Artwork by James Green.

“Through The View from Here, we are offered a rare glimpse into the divergent realities faced by the artists at SCI Phoenix and San Quentin,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. “The exhibition unveils a striking contrast: while artists from SCI Phoenix portray a world hemmed in by concrete and barbed wire, their counterparts at San Quentin present visions shaped by the nearness of urban life. Yet, irrespective of their physical surroundings, their artworks converge in a powerful narrative. They speak of the emotional burdens borne within prison walls, the strength found in camaraderie, and a profound yearning for freedom. This exhibition is not just an array of art; it’s a resonant journey through hope, resilience, and the unstoppable creative will of people.”

Outsider Art from the Inside Workshop
March 9, 2024, 1 to 3 pm | Link to RSVP for Workshop.

Participants are invited to learn from formerly incarcerated artists about creative techniques developed inside prisons. The workshop will explore different creative arts including poetry, found object sculptures, printmaking, and painting. The workshop will be led by artist Eduardo Ramirez with contributions from Edwin Desamour of The Lighthouse 1893, and artists Suave Gonzalez and Cody Stuhltrager.

Advocacy and Art Panel | RSVP for Panel Discussion

March 21, 2024, from 6 to 8 pm will delve into prison reform, abolition, and memory, moderated by Kris Henderson of Amistad Movement Power. Panelists include Felix Rosado of Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project and artist-activist Madusa Carter.

All events will be held on the 3rd floor of the Paradigm Arts Building.

“When two artists from Mural Arts were visiting the San Quentin studio, conversation led to an exciting collaboration between our Prison Arts Project open studio class and the incarcerated artists working across the country at SCI Phoenix,” explains Carol Newberg, Site Coordinator and an Instructor, San Quentin Prison Arts Project of the William James Association. “It’s been fascinating to watch the West Coast artists develop a wide range of views— from metaphysical spaces to natural settings to views from inside the imagination. The range and depth of stories and art to be shared from those who are incarcerated can never be underestimated!”

Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. Now celebrating its 40th Anniversary with the theme Roots & Reimagination, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating over 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to mutual understanding through projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public arts preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts' iconic and unparalleled collection, earning Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the "Mural Capital of the World." For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit

Acting on the conviction that the fine arts enrich, heal, and unite communities, the William James Association has brought exceptional artists into prisons throughout California for forty-five years. The Prison Arts Project conceives of prison arts activities as not only affecting the individual but also affecting the entire prison community, families of artists who are incarcerated, and the communities beyond, those to which 90% of people who are experiencing incarceration will return. The San Quentin Prison Arts Project, funded by the William James Association since 1977, has offered classes in visual arts, music, and writing taught by professional artists since 1980. It has been a part of the statewide Arts in Corrections Program, which is now a part of the California Arts Council.

Media contacts:

Kaitlyn Haney, Signature 57

Tamara Yvette Day, Signature 57