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W&L Partners with Correctional Center for New Exhibit A panel discussion and reception for "The Unfreedom of Expression: Artworks from the Augusta Correctional Center" will take place Sept. 13, but the exhibit will remain on display through Sept. 30.

A ship in a peanut butter jar by Gary Wilkinson

A new art exhibit in Wilson Hall’s Lykes Atrium and hallway galleries at Washington and Lee University highlights the talents of men housed (or formerly housed) at Augusta Correctional Center (ACC) in Craigsville, Virginia. “The Unfreedom of Expression: Artworks from the Augusta Correctional Center” will be on display through Sept. 30. A panel discussion and reception will take place at 5 p.m. Sept. 13 in Wilson Hall Room 2017. Both the discussion and reception are free and open to the public.

Two Washington and Lee juniors, Laura Calhoun ’20 and Balen Essak ’20, first got the idea for this exhibition during a 2017 Spring Term class taught at ACC. During the course, Calhoun and Essak noticed some impressive doodling on an inside classmate’s textbook and began to learn more about the variety and quality of art produced by men who are incarcerated at ACC.

The exhibition features the work of 18 men who are incarcerated or were formerly incarcerated, and it includes sculptures, paintings, drawings and textile pieces. Some artists are extremely imaginative when it comes to finding materials for their work for example, a tiny white skull was carved from two bars of soap using a pen cap.

To read more about the story behind this exhibit, please click here. Visitors to this exhibit are invited to leave comments in a guest book that will be shared with the artists at a later date.

Lykes Atrium and hallway galleries are located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. The Atrium is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.