Lowcountry art exhibit showcases artists who work behind bars

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All artists from "Transcendence" show on Hilton Head are inmates from Allendale Correctional facility

HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WSAV) – Artists usually have studios, a place to stir their creative juices, but some in the Lowcountry are painting from somewhere different — behind bars.

The artists in “Transcendence” art show at the Art League of Hilton Head Island are all Allendale Correctional inmates learning to channel their anger and their emotions into a canvas or a kiln.

“There are 15 men in my program, we have 13 more on a waiting list right now and they are all inmates,” said Delane Marynowski, the volunteer coordinator for Advanced Artists of Allendale program.

“The first time I was there it was very overwhelming. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there. Until I met the men and talked to them,” Marynowski said. “Then I realized these were men who are truly working on their character, not only developing themselves as artists but who they are. They truly want to be a positive force in society when they get out.”

She added that for many of the inmates, art is the main way they have been able to heal and transcend. It’s something they are eager to share with others.

“The best surprise is watching the men grow. As I have watched them in the last year and a half, they stand taller, they smile easier their self-confidence has grown so much,” Marynowski said. “I see them healing before my eyes.”

“Transcendence” runs through Aug. 24 at the Art League of Hilton Head, inside the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in Shelter Cove.

The doors are open from 10-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

All the pieces are for sale. The inmates get 40% of the proceeds which they can use behind bars or when they leave prison.

The entire program is supported by donations and volunteers.

You can support the Advanced Artists of Allendale program by:

  • Buying a piece of art or note cards
  • Donations of new or slightly used art supplies (drop off at Hilton Head Art Academy on Cordillo)
  • Cash donations to cover the cost of supplies (tax-deductible, make checks out to Character Restoration Initiative with Advanced Artists on the memo line)
  • Scholarship- $350 sponsors an artist for a year and allows them to be a showing artist in the Gallery
  • Be a visiting artist and teach a class (4 hours)
  • Donate reference photos for men to paint

Just contact the Art League of Hilton Head at (843) 681-5060 for more information.

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