This January, Catamount Arts Center will be presenting the work of Chicago-based painter, Julian Williams entitled, Englewood Boys and a performance piece based upon this collection of portraits by local playwright Ruby C. Berryman.
Just recently both Williams and Ms. Berryman were the artists in residence at the Northeast Correctional Complex where this unusual inmate art project began. Englewood Boys is a thirteen portrait watercolor collection of incarcerated males in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Williams’ collection is derived as a response to his interaction with the penal system when his own son was incarcerated in a medium security prison.
Ms. Berryman has also created a writing workshop for the inmates based upon the portraits. Her goal was to convey meaning from one artistic medium to another culminating with a performance. Working through a series of writing and performance exercises, the inmates compiled monologues for each of the thirteen portraits, thus extending the Englewood Boys narrative onto the page and ultimately the stage.
This was the first portrait to performance piece for the Northeast Correctional Complex and Superintendent Al Cormier noted that, “It was impressive that the inmates were able to accomplish so much with the portraits in so little time.”
Englewood Boys will be on exhibit in the main gallery at Catamount Arts for the month of January 2015. A performance of the inmates’ monologues which will be open to the public will take place at 7:30 pm Friday, January 30 in the Cabaret at Catamount Arts.
The galleries at Catamount Arts are open from 11 am – 6 pm Monday through Saturday and before and after each film screening.