Prison Creative Arts Project
The Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) brings those impacted by the justice system and the University of Michigan community into artistic collaboration for mutual learning and growth. We are a program of the LSA Residential College. Founded in 1990 with a single theatre workshop, PCAP has grown to include courses, exhibits, publications, arts programming, and events that reach thousands of people each year.
The Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners is PCAP's most publicly visible project and is one of the largest exhibitions of incarcerated artists in the world. The Annual Exhibition typically hangs for two weeks at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus (U-M). The exhibition features art curated from artists in every state prison in Michigan. Most of the artwork is for sale and the the proceeds of art sales go directly to the artists themselves.
Courses and Workshops
PCAP links pedagogy with practice by training college students to facilitate weekly arts workshops in adult prisons, youth detention and treatment centers, and prisoner reentry programs. PCAP courses serve as gateways for undergraduate participation in arts workshops and provide structured support for the workshops as well as academic training in issues surrounding incarceration and practical skills in the arts. Students and community members can also receive facilitator training within PCAP’s student organization.
Facilitator teams open creative spaces in institutions where they do not exist and enter equally with the other participants, bringing—as they do—our individual energies and skills. Through individual and group activities, honest discussion, and hard work, each workshop creates original art in the form of plays, writing, dance, music, and visual art that is ultimately shared with others through performances and/or exhibitions.
PCAP’s Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing seeks to showcase the talent and diversity of Michigan's incarcerated writers. The journal features writing from both beginning and experienced writers - writing that comes from the heart, and that is unique, well-crafted, and lively.
The Review is available for purchase at appointments made through this exhibition, at PCAP events, at select bookstores, and by mail. Download the order form here.
The Linkage Project is a program of the Prison Creative Arts Project. While PCAP connects incarcerated artists with the U of M community, the Linkage Project offers programming and opportunities for artists who have come home. We offer our members professional development and artistic workshops, a creative peer support network, opportunities to exhibit and perform, and other connections to the arts.
If you are a returning artist, writer, or creator, you can register for the Linkage Project here.
Newsletter for Incarcerated Participants
The PCAP newsletter aims to keep incarcerated artists, writers, and performers in Michigan informed of what the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) is doing and how to be involved. If you know someone who would like to receive the newsletter, you can add them to our mailing list here.