Unchained Art came out of a letter that Augustus Mendenhall sent out to family and friends. The letter talked about an idea he had had for many years of starting a prison art show. He asked if anyone knew of a gallery that would be interested in such a show. I happened to be one of the friends who received that letter and happended to have a dance studio in a building that hosted art shows and art studios. The rest as they say is history!
Aug took up oil painting while serving in the U.S. Air Force. The former Indianapolis attorney says that art gives him hope and encourages those around him to express their creative sides. As an inmate himself and an advocate for rehabilitation, he found a like minded Recreations director who was able to help us get this project off the ground.
We continue to add more facilities and the artwork gets better with each show. The proceeds raised through donations are returned to the facilities to purchase art supplies, teachers and further the art programs.
The show was created to give the inmates a creative outlet and, for some, a reason to be proud. It is not intended to diminish the suffering they may have caused, but to help them as they reaclimate to civiliam life and become a productive part of society.
The works include self portoraits, pencil sketches of celebrities, and family members. One drawing depicts a rescue worker assisting a fallen soldier; another is of a chained prisoner standing in front of a clock. Art Gallery >>