El Dorado Correctional Facility inmates have been granted another opportunity to display their art beyond their cells with the third iteration of Butler Community College’s “Art Unlocked” series. To celebrate the opening of this exhibit, Ray Roberts, Secretary of Corrections, will be on hand to speak.
Roberts appeared at the exhibit’s public reception on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The exhibit opened Sept. 7 in the Hubbard Welcome Center Open Gallery at Butler’s El Dorado campus and will be on display until Oct. 8.
The idea for “Art Unlocked” came to Glenn Lygrisse, a Match2 Volunteer for Central Kansas Prison Ministry and retired Butler Dean for Enrollment Management after receiving a painting from EDCF inmate Mikel Trumbly. Lygrisse volunteers with Central Kansas Prison Ministry and has met with Trumbly for several years now, encouraging personal and spiritual growth.
After bolstering Trumbly’s interest in painting, Lygrisse received an original acrylic painting of a Meadowlark, sitting on a fence post on the prairie. The painting inspired the idea to coordinate an exhibit of inmate art.
“Community involvement has brought a sense of self-respect to Mikel since this project began,” Lygrisse said. “I trust it will carry over into all aspects of his life and to other inmates at EDCF.”
El Dorado Correctional Facility is a super maximum facility with some medium custody. Inmates receive training in vehicle repair, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, construction, food preparation and woodworking. Additional activities include music and art.
This exhibit showcases the work of 10 inmates who used their time to create something personally meaningful. Some of the artists had never touched a paintbrush before beginning work on these projects. EDCF administrators view this artistic outlet as a self-help program to help them learn the value of respect, motivation, discipline and focus.
“Most of the inmates feel viewed negatively by society,” said EDCF Activities Specialist Dave Suttle. “This exhibit gives them a chance to be viewed positively. They are seen as people who have talent and skill, not just inmates who are locked up and not doing anything.”