“The Pencil Is a Key” Exhibition Spotlights Artwork Created by Incarcerated People


Greta Rainbow was the writer and researcher for this review

Read on ︎ourprism.org

Prism was established in January 2019 to challenge the dominant and toxic national narratives by centering people closest to the problems and amplifying their ideas, experiences, and solutions.



“In 2018, an estimated 5 in 1,000 Americans were employed as professional artists. That same year, there were approximately 7 in 1,000 people incarcerated in American prisons. In states like Oklahoma and Louisiana, that number is more like 10 in 1,000. The Pencil Is a Key is an exhibition of artwork by incarcerated people, on view at The Drawing Center in New York City through January 5, 2020. Off a cobblestone street in Soho, a few doors down from the Gucci store, is a quiet space of drawings from different centuries, countries, and perspectives, linked by the experience of state-ordered imprisonment.”