(SPARKILL, NY – January 23, 2019) – St. Thomas Aquinas College offers a bachelor’s degree program at the Sullivan Correctional Facility and is proud to exhibit 25 drawings of students from our May 2019 graduating class. Please join us for a reception and talk with Sharon Lindenfeld, adjunct professor of art, on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, in the College’s Lougheed Library at 3:30 PM.
This will be a powerful exhibit. Not only will you get to see these drawings but you’ll get to read the fascinating stories students wrote about their work. One inmate, who drew his cell, wrote of his work: “Everything in this drawing was made larger except the windows above the bed to symbolize the limited view and/or perspective incarceration imposes on incarcerated people.” Another wrote: “I understand the importance of striving to become the best person I can; and earning my college degree keeps me on a positive path which leads to greatness. Being incarcerated is a hard thing to endure, but being in college gives me the hope I need to endure.”
In the Spring of 2017, STAC partnered with Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, a nonprofit organization that works with colleges and universities in the Hudson Valley to bring college-level programs to seven New York State correctional institutions. Professor Lindenfeld shares her thoughts about the program, “Many students in the Hudson Link introductory drawing class had not made artwork since childhood and were now learning new skills and gaining confidence in expressing their own voices. Others, already accomplished artists, got the chance to practice and develop their skills and creative visions. The two hours of class per week were a reprieve for them, where they could express their humanity and explore beauty and ideas.”
Sullivan Correctional Facility, about 80 miles northwest of the college, is a maximum-security prison with approximately 550 inmates. In May 2019, Sullivan Correctional Facility will hold its first STAC commencement with twenty graduates.
The STAC program enrolls 20-25 men in its classes, and offers four courses each Summer, Fall, and Spring semester. Typically, students work full-time in the prison while taking three or four courses in the evenings. Their degree requirements in Social Sciences prompt them to take several courses in psychology, history, and sociology as well as courses in the humanities, such as philosophy and film, art history and drawing.
The students in Fall 2018’s ART 205: Drawing Skills and Processes, produced numerous drawings. Professor Lindenfeld chose those she thought were representative.
Hudson Link is a nonprofit dedicated for 20 years of higher education in prison. It partners with colleges and universities in the lower Hudson Valley and New York City to provide educational opportunities at the pre-college, associate, and bachelor degree levels. More info available on their website http://www.hudsonlink.org/