For ten weeks, inmates of the Hamilton County Jail received art classes culminating in the creation of a 400 square foot mural of their own design and execution of outer space. Thanks to funding from the State of Tennessee, Mark Making was able to bring lead artist Charlie Newton and supporting artists Rondell Crier, Frances McDonald and David Riall into the jail with supplies to teach and encourage artistic expression.
The mural, “Universe Space” in the jail’s fourth floor classroom will be documented with a photo exhibit to be held in the Hamilton County-Chattanooga Courts Building Lobby.
The theme of outer space in a detention center challenges the concepts of freedom and confinement. There are those who are physically free but emotionally or spiritually confined by situations often of their choice. Though the inmates are confined physically, several of the inmates remarked that they felt “free” when painting in the classroom. Creating an outer space when confined to an inner space as was done in this mural, is an exercise in distinguishing between physical and emotional space and learning what issues are matters of choice and control, officials said.
"I have helped build something that more people can enjoy and something I can look back on and feel proud about," said Lathe Juan Corbin. "I learned how to pace myself when dealing with something new to me and that with every stroke of color brings a smile to someone else’s future."
The opening reception for Universal Space will take place Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Hamilton County- Chattanooga Courts Building Lobby and the exhibit will remain open until May 3.