Starting August 15th and running until September 12th, Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting an exhibition centered around the artwork, specifically films, of currently incarcerated individuals. If you are into art, have an interest in criminal justice reform, or simply like going on adventures to different kinds of events, this is for you!
Hidden Lives Illuminated is a special project that has been in the works by Eastern State Penitentiary for three years. As a way to help prisoners find their voice, Eastern State Penitentiary hired teachers and held classes like storytelling, screen writing, narration, and animation in various Pennsylvania correctional facilities. The mission of this project? To help expand and broaden the conversation around our criminal justice system and specifically, life within the criminal justice system. This is accomplished by actually hearing the stories and bolstering the voices of those real men and women currently living inside our prisons.
On the purpose of the project, Senior Vice President Sean Kelley said, “We want to use our wall to illuminate the lives of people living inside these institutions that are so often misunderstood, or, worse, ignored.”
The ‘wall’ Kelley speaks of is the physical wall on the outside of Eastern State, where the films will be screened. The use of the outside wall of the building to display the films is symbolic (in my opinion) in highlighting the voices of those who are physically confined to the inside of prison walls.
In total, 20 films will be shown throughout the duration of the event, which will focus on the lives of currently incarcerated individuals. The content of the films are appropriate for all ages and completely free to view. Throughout the four weeks that the event is being held, there will be a specific theme dedicated to each week, such as “community and family impact” or “restorative justice.”
Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
For more information on the specific themes and a brief look into the films shown each week, look here!