Prisoner art show is Friday, Saturday

A two-day exhibit of prison art will be shown in Grand Haven on Friday and Saturday, April 25-26.
Apr 22, 2014


The show is presented by Humanity for Prisoners, a local nonprofit organization that advocates for prisoners and their families in Michigan.

The exhibit is open to the public from 6-9 p.m. Friday and 2-6 p.m. Saturday at the St. Patrick's Youth Center. 915 Washington Ave.

The event is a fundraiser for Humanity for Prisoners. All of the participating artists have agreed to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of their works to HFP, and many have decided to donate 100 percent.

“We’ve been blown away by some of the magnificent pieces we have received,” said Humanity for Prisoners President Doug Tjapkes. “Some of the prisoners contributing are juried artists, and we’ve already received compliments from other artists on some of the pieces we have. Not only will the public have a chance to view and purchase some fine pieces, but they can also learn more about the work of HFP.”



I guess since they get priority free medical care, and aren't required to break big rocks into little rocks to occupy their time, they have more leisure time available to pursue their artistic endeavors.

Nancy Pelosi : "Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance or that people could start a business and be entrepreneurial and take risk, but not job loss because of a child with asthma or someone in the family is bipolar—you name it, any condition—is job locking." But if their day job is being a felon?

So, buy some art and put the criminal's health care in front of everyone else more than it is now. (Disclosure: I was hospitalized at Mercy Heath Intensive Care a couple of years ago, and the nurses were infuriated that prisoners from Muskegon jail got priority care before paying patients); many states are dumping prisoner medical costs on taxpayers under Obamacare; Doug Tjapkes has more pro-felon initiatives than Carter has liver pills.

Barry Soetoro

They get to keep the proceeds? Really? Where's Sheriff Joe when you need him?


Enough to make you puke.

Back to the Wall

Thanks for the notice, but I think I have to volunteer at the rape victim or child abuse center that day.


Vladtheimp, Barry Soetoro, thecatsmom and Back to the Wall: Have you ever visited a prisoner? Or had a family member in prison?

Must be nice being perfect and having the ability to cast the first stone.

Barry Soetoro

Why? Because I don't think prisoners should be able to profit from their "work"?


I'll bite even though I was not included in your statement.. Yes I was actually married to someone in prison (and divorced them a long time ago) and I feel the same way as Vlad, Barry, and the others. The victims are not profiting from anything so why should the criminals? If anything, the money should be donated 100% to the victims funds. I will not be attending this event.

Back to the Wall

If I’m not going to see the arts and crafts of the felons, what makes you think I might go to the actual prison to visit anyone?

You see, people go to prison because they’ve been deemed unfit to be part of society. They decided to break the rules society has determined necessary for co-existence. These prisoners have subverted and many times taken advantage of basic human trust, and twisted the rationale for doing so. They don’t care about rules. It’s a sad ugly truth of a free society. Some don’t follow the rules so they are expelled.

By the time someone gets to prison, they’ve generally lost a lot of credibility as a viable member of society. Sure, there are exceptions, $insert diety here$ bless them, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. I am not the guy to give a convicted felon any benefit of doubt. I stay away from prisons. I’ve visited guys in the County jail, but not prison.

I have had historic opportunities to have contact with current residents of our state penal institutions. Two come immediately to mind. The crimes of these men took the life of someone very dear to me, and threw the lives of dozens of family members into upheaval. The attention required to manage that aftermath cost me 5 years of professional mobility, put me very close to divorce, cost jobs of at least 3 family members, and thousands of dollars in psychiatric counselling.

Now when I work for my pay, I know a portion of my labors is being confiscated to pay for the ongoing care and treatment of these two men who showed so little compassion for the lives of others. The prisons are full of like-minded men that would not think twice about cutting my throat or shooting you in the back of the head if it would serve their purposes.
Don’t even talk about rehabilitation. The perps in my story had spent a fair portion of their lives being “rehabilitated”. They chose to subvert society’s rules and grace to their own gain.

So, I’ll not support their hobbies beyond the obligatory confiscations toward play-doh and finger paints.

As I said, I’ll direct my time and discretionary income toward those who are deserving of charity, generally survivors of the attacks of these caged animals, or children who have not yet been bastardized by pure evil.

Your experiences may vary, I am speaking my truth.


Wow, touchy crowd. Let's start from the top.
I understand there are victims of crimes. Violent, nasty crimes that make you sick. My dad lost his only sibling to a drunk driver. My brother-in-law lost his only sibling in a murder. I understand there are victims. That's why prisoners have been given sentences according to our state's guidelines. They are incarcerated, that is their punishment. Michigan has longer sentences than any other state in the county. It also spends more on prisons than education.
To assume every criminal is violent and evil is a huge leap. The US Department of Justice said in 2010 that violent criminals made up 53% of the prison population in our country. If Michigan has 43,000 prisoners, that would leave it at about 20,000. That's assuming there are no wrongful convictions, another story in itself.
Why shouldn't prisoners be allowed to make money? 95% of them have sentences that will release them back into society at some point. If we expect them to "learn their lesson" from their prison sentence, I assume we're going to expect them to be productive members of society upon their release, too? Maybe find somewhere to live, and hopefully have skills and work ethic to keep a job. If we don't treat them like human beings while they are in prison, I don't see how they'll act any different when they're released back into society. Parolees will need money to get established when they get out. The men and women behind bars might have families, too. I work to support my family. I'd guess they would like to support the families they left behind in any way while they are paying their debt to society.
If they have a job in prison, their pay is less than 50 cents a day. And the prisoners free health care includes a copay for each visit. And any possession they have, from pens and paper to beyond, they have to purchase in prison. Just to write a family member, you would need paper, pencil, envelope and a stamp.
And finally, do you really think prisoners who show initiative enough to create artwork, then share it or give it to a non-profit agency, are the "like-minded men that would not think twice about cutting my throat or shooting you in the back of the head if it would serve their purposes."
There are thousands of non-profits out there, all of them have to work hard to be certified a non-profit and all are worthy causes with people behind them who have tremendous passion. If you support any, that is fantastic, I hope you really are volunteering your time there Friday and Saturday. And if you choose to not support this non-profit, that's your choice. You're all making generalizations and negative comments about prisoners when a local agency who employs local residents is trying hold a fundraiser, which happens to be at a facility of one of our city's largest churches.


Cry me a river.. You sound like one of those prison groupies I would see when I visited my ex. I would rather give my money to a bum holding a sign on the corner or to an organization to help the victims of these incarcerated felons, like The Center for Women in Transition


Wally, I appreciate your nicely written comments. Having a son in prison who has hurt no one but himself and his family...... they are not all murderers and sex offenders. The prisons are full of this type of criminal just trying to pay their dues to society and get out to live a better life making better choices.

Back to the Wall

"do you really think prisoners who show initiative enough to create artwork, then share it or give it to a non-profit agency, are the "like-minded men that would not think twice about cutting my throat or shooting you in the back of the head if it would serve their purposes."

Sociopaths will trade their 10 year old daughters for drugs, why wouldn't they give away some feces smeared canvas for the hope of a buck?

Leopards do not change their spots.


I stopped in last night. It's about the art to me and it was all great. Having a son in prison (of a victimless crime) makes me a bit more compassionate for both sides of the aisle.
Thank you Humanity for Prisoners for sharing this art with us.
Very happy to have had the opportunity to attend and thank you for your continued work.

Back to the Wall

So, are the pieces labeled to specify the artist's crime and sentencing history???
That'd be sociologically interesting.


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