We are all human beings with feelings, interests, talents, and passions, regardless of our circumstances.

As a reminder of this sentiment, an art exhibit that debuted in September at Portland Media’s Center features diverse artwork made by prisoners at Maine State Prison.

According to an article by News Center Maine, the exhibit, titled ‘Freedom and Captivity: Maine Voices Beyond Prison Walls’ features sculptures, paintings, poems, music, and knitting by local prisoners. The exhibit will be presented at the media center on Congress Street throughout this month of October.

There are a variety of types of impressive artwork being featured in the exhibit, including a sculpture of a bald eagle made of mahogany by Charlie Jones. As stated in the article, Jones is in year 25 of a 75-year sentence and has recently discovered his new artistic talent through the industries program in prison.

Quoted in the News Center Maine article, Jones states that the process is therapeutic and gives him something to think about other than what landed him in prison. It also plays into him feeling like a new person, as he feels he has changed and grown since he committed the crime that brought him to prison.

Jones is just one of many prisoners whose craftsmanship is being featured in the art exhibit and their work being on display for the public in our bustling metropolitan has provided them a sense of purpose.

As Jan Collins, the assistant director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, said in the article, it is so important to treat people humanely and give them a sense of worth and purpose.

We too often lose our sense of humanity, and we see folks on the side of the road just as “homeless people”, and people behind bars just as “prisoners”; we forget that these are multi-faceted human beings with talent and interests, just like us. We are not our worst mistakes, and our faults do not define us.

This art exhibit provides a reminder that we are all human beings.

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