About 60 inmates at Stafford Creek Corrections Center are preparing to share their creative works with the outside world.
A Nov. 13 art show will be open to the public (by reservation only) from noon to 3 p.m. The pieces on display will range from paint and pottery to wood and leather.
The Stafford Creek Violence Prevention Committee’s art subcommittee is organizing the show.
“We host multiple events a year — field day, concerts, art events — to encourage positive behavior and incentivize participants to stay infraction-free,” said Victoria Gamroth, who leads the subcommittee along with her supervisor, Dan Van Ogle, the prison’s associate superintendent.
“Most art is made in their cells on their own personal time and with their own supplies,” she said. “Some individuals have had past work sent in from the outside, as they are only allowed to maintain a certain number of pieces in their cells.”
The prison also has a hobby shop where inmates can work with wood, leather, clay and other materials that must be managed by staff, she said. Individuals must receive approval to access these areas.
“And some work areas, such as our painters shop and engineering department, have added some art they make with their work crews,” Gamroth noted.
Douglas Orr, co-owner of the Aberdeen Art Center, is working with prison officials to possibly set up a downtown window display at the old Goldberg’s Furniture location sometime after the prison art show.
The display at Stafford Creek will have a “great selection of artwork,” said Orr. “There are some world-class artists there.”
During the Nov. 13 event, the individual artists will be able to share contact information with any interested visitors. “Hopefully, that will help assist them in their re-entry and building positive community support,” said Gamroth.
She emphasized that there’s no competition involved here — no judging or awards, simply a display of talent.
“I have just encouraged all my participating artists that this is a great networking opportunity, and that it’s not very often our art made within here gets to be seen by the outside community.”
Anyone who wishes to attend this show must contact Victoria Gamroth at 360-537-1800, ext. 71857, or firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Nov. 11. A background check is required, so be prepared to give your full name and birthdate for that purpose. Gamroth will let applicants know once the results come back whether they will be admitted.
The prison is located at 191 Constantine Way — off Highway 105, just a few miles southwest of town. When you arrive, be prepared to show photo ID for entry.