Hamilton County inmates deliver message to the public through mural

Inmates worked together for a year to create the mural. Photo courtesy of Mark Making.

Over the past year, 75 Hamilton County inmates have been hard at work creating a mural sharing a message to those on the outside.

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The group Mark Making says the purpose of the mural was to contrast negative inmate stigma by demonstrating that inmates can become worthy citizens once they rejoin society. To represent this, inmates chose a theme of vibrant free birds.

Inmates first used their imagination to draw individual birds, which were then digitally sized to fit the billboard's location during photo shop sessions at the jail. The inmates then traced the images onto parachute cloth and were painted.

The mural was created in a class led by Mark Making Executive Director Frances McDonald, who has worked to transform offenders through art for the last 12 years.

In this particular case, McDonald says the process of creating the mural had a lasting effect on offenders.

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One inmate said, "I learned and am still learning how to deal with and work with people. Learning a lot of art skills is fun. I love everything about this class."

Art classes at the Hamilton County Jail are paid for by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

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