International Debut of UK and US Prison Art Exhibit at Ann Arbor Art Fair.


by Alvin Smith

From UM Prison Creative Arts Project

In the depths of the covid pandemic lockdown, 31 people isolated in prisons in the UK and US produced extraordinary artworks exploring personal experiences of incarceration.

UK Artist, Faye Claridge, invited participants creative responses to folk art paintings from the two countries, showing different treatment of captive bears. These, as metaphors, provided inspiration for the remarkable artworks presented in We Bear.

The two folk art paintings inspiring participants’ responses are (left) Man Feeding A Bear An Ear of Corn (1840, American Folk Art Museum, New York) and (right) Bear Baiting (1830s, Compton Verney Art gallery & Park, Warwickshire).

“Incredible artwork – so beautiful, emotional and in depth. The atmosphere is incredible. So much talent.” ~ Exhibit visitor


Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, Main Street & Liberty

Thurs - Fri, July 21 & 22 - 10am 9pm

Saturday, July 23rd - 10am - 8pm

With the Arts Council England support, We Bear is travelling to the US and will be showcased at the hugely popular Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. The University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), has partnered in the project from conception and is now collaborating as co-curator for the art fair exhibit.

Join them, Thursday - Saturday, to experience the entire collection and leave your mark in the ongoing collaborative public art installation at the exhibit’s activity tent. And don’t miss their engaging live events just down the street, thanks to support from The Guild of Artists and Artisans.

by Buckley Hall


The Stage on Main, William & Main Street

Thurs, July 21st - 2pm - 4pm

Friday, July 22nd - 2:30pm - 4:30pm

At the Stage on Main, in the parking lot next to Palio Restaurant at the corner of William & Main, hear first hand the captivating stories of artists who have created art inside prison, celebrate the spoken words of writers who are currently/formerly incarcerated, and be swept away by musical performances from the U of M Men’s Glee Club.

by Daryl Rattew


We Bear: Behind the Scenes*

Thurs, July 14th - 2pm - 3pm

*registration required:

Here's your opportunity to get an exclusive look into the makings of the compelling international collaboration, We Bear. Join the online event and experience the project in depth, with behind-the-scenes documentation, engagement with participants, and additional insights into the art.

Hear from project creator Faye Claridge, the artist participants, along with commissioners Coventry Biennial, UK prison education provider Novus, and the director of PCAP.

“I hope this can give a glimpse into the creative minds and talent that reside in prisons and impart some insight into the effects of mass incarceration on our populations.” ~ Darryl Rattew (US Artist)

Scan to add to calendar, register for virtual event, and/or for more exhibit information. (See We Bear QR Code File in Press Kit)

Follow: @fayeclaridge, @prisonarts, @annarborartfair, @Coventry2021, Hashtags: #WeBear #annarborartfair #CovBiennial2021 #prisonarts

We Bear is a Coventry Biennial Commission made possible thanks to UK City of Culture 2021, Arts Council England and Art Fund, and Prison Creative Arts Project.

by Parker Ayers
by Sergi Tkachenko
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