GCC photography class exhibits work at Artspace

November 6, 2015

Joan O’Beirne, professor of photography at GCC, along with student intern Kristina McComb, recently taught a six-week course that covered using DSLR cameras, image editing, and
printing—all in one room with no natural light. The class, ART 151: Photography Foundation, was taught exclusively to men incarcerated at the Franklin County House of Corrections.

Art by inmates at the Franklin County Jail
Art by inmates at the Franklin County Jail

The work produced in this class is a testament to how much can be created with so little. An exhibit of student work, Inside Art II, is presented through November 20 at Artspace in Greenfield, by the Elm Street Think Tank and students who took part in the class. The Think Tank is a group of incarcerated men and community members who meet weekly inside the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office with the mission to promote alternatives to incarceration by raising awareness and connecting people, ideas, & resources.

More than 7 million people are under correctional supervision (imprisoned, on probation, or parole) in the US, which has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Most of the 2.3 million children, women, and men who are now in jail or prison will eventually come home, including all of the artists represented here. Having access to education, economic opportunity, affordable housing, and medical care, including treatment for addiction, increases the possibility that people released from jail or prison will not return.

Inside Art II runs through November 20 at Artspace, 15 Mill Street in Greenfield. Gallery hours: Mon-Wed and Fri. 12-2:30pm and 4-6 pm; Thurs. 12-1:30pm and 3:30-6pm; and by appointment (413) 772-6811.