Troy University’s International Arts Center displays artwork of Tutwiler inmates in the Garden of Perseverance.

Troy University‘s International Arts Center is now home to a new exhibit that is years in the making, Garden of Perseverance.

The exhibit features artwork from incarcerated women from the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

The gardening program started with a focus on horticulture and nutrition until Dr. Sharon Everhardt, co-creator of the program, felt like something was missing.

“I knew that there was a piece in the programming that was missing but I wasn’t quite sure what it was,” says Everhardt. “Until I really started listening to the women and listen to what they use as outlets to kind of escape being incarcerated and one of the things that they do as a calming activity is art in any capacity.”

A 15-week program was created teaching women skills in agriculture and art.

Dr. Kelly Berwager, a Troy University art professor, led the women through weekly classes teaching them techniques all the while taking inspiration from the garden for the artwork.

“For all of them in one way shape or form you see the gardening program which has been the component the anchor if you will the anchoring component of the program in all of the art so there is an interweaving of different skill sets and activities that we take them through all with this idea of skill building.”

The paintings on display and the exhibit are for sale for fifty dollars a painting and the proceeds will go directly to the inmate artists. If you would like to purchase a painting you can contact Dr. Everhardt at 419-902-1396 for more information.

For more information watch Claudia’s report