Unlocking the Heart: Creating from the Inside Out

Pablo Picasso once said, “We artists are indestructible; even in a prison, or in a concentration camp, I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.”   How is it that in such heavy and dark times the punished or oppressed are able to create, and what role does creative expression play in healing and rehabilitation?  In the United States we use the term “correctional facility,” but is our criminal justice system correcting anything?  Why do we have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world?  In this course we will grapple with these questions, keeping human rights as our prime focus.  We’ll explore written and visual art as forms of therapy and rehabilitation for both victims and offenders.  Do our victims in New York find justice?  Are our inmates being treated humanely?  You’ll have an opportunity to work with local inmates in the St. Lawrence County correctional facility as well as work with advocacy groups like Think Outside the Box that aim to establish and maintain dignity for all inmates.  How can we serve victims while also treating offenders humanely?  How can we offer respect to all?