A Gallery Showing Unlike Any Other
August 2019 Issue
By Elizabeth Skenes Millen
Photos provided by Advanced Artist of Allendale Program
Delane Marynowski had no idea what she was getting into when she volunteered to facilitate the Advanced Artist of Allendale Program. How could she? Prison was a place in which she was completely unfamiliar. In fact, she had dedicated many charitable hours helping and supporting victims of crime with a full view of the pain and suffering inflicted upon them. At first, she wasn’t sure she had the heart—or the stomach—to work on the side of the fence where those who committed such crimes were now incarcerated. After one visit, she was all in and became the weekly class program director and facilitator.
Allendale Correctional Institution (ACI) is a men’s medium-security, SC state prison located in Fairfax, SC, approximately 90 miles from Delane’s Sea Pines home. The facility has a capacity of 1090 inmates and is a place like no other. ACI became South Carolina’s first character-based institution in 2015, offering a variety of programs and services to inmates in an effort to better prepare them as returning citizens back into society successfully. The programs are vast, including Jumpstart (faith-based program that prepares inmates for life after prison); Bee program (making of honey); Quilting; Addiction Recovery Program; Animal Rescue and Training Program, an in-house Toastmasters Club and writing and art classes, just to name a few. Basically, there's something for everyone, including educational and GED programs.
The Advanced Artist of Allendale program is for men serious about art. Most of these guys are leaders of the prison and help teach the art classes for beginners. The program is formal. There is a mission statement, pre-requisites, behavior codes, participation expectations and a syllabus. To be in a class of this level the men have to maintain good standing within the character program, attend class and learn all mediums, share their advanced skills with others, and if accepted into a gallery show, commit to developing quality pieces for the show.
They have never had to worry about that last requirement until now. From July 30 through August 24, a large collection of the men’s work will be featured by The Art League of Hilton Head and showcased in the Walter Greer Gallery. The show is entitled "Transcendence", which is exactly what these men have done with their lives through art. All of the works will be offered for sale, with proceeds going back to the good of the class to purchase quality art supplies. The class is funded only through donations, independent of tax payer dollars.
This gallery show is in direct alignment with the Advanced Artists mission statement: To continue the development of our artistic skills and share them with others inside and outside Allendale Correctional Institution. You can only imagine the excitement, and maybe some anxiety, too, these guys feel in having their work on public display for the first time ever.
Bryan, one of the classmates, said, “Advanced Artists of Allendale has allowed me to transcend beyond what I thought my capabilities were. I’ve always wanted to paint, but never took the time to actually sit down and try. This class has given me the tools, time, encouragement, and techniques to produce some high-quality paintings.”
Delane gets a front row seat to transcendence at each week’s class. “These men have truly worked hard and now have integrity,” she said. “This is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.”
She tells a story of the class receiving a donation of two laundry carts full of art supplies. One of the biggest guys in the class teared up. He said, “Don’t you tell anyone. All these people that give stuff—the fact that someone sincerely cares.” For many, this class shows them a way of living they have never experienced before.
And, there are many who care. Delane has recruited a few guest artists to teach classes on different mediums and styles. Artist Art Cornell has become a regular guest teacher, teaching abstracts, expert blending techniques and the amazing things you can do with acrylics. Art is thrilled to be a part of the program and would love to see more artists get involved.
Classmate Ronald explained, “No matter the environment or my mood, art is my escape from it all. When I pick up a paintbrush, I rise above the cares of the world and transcend it all into a world where I have the power to create and tap into my own inner being—a world of my own.
Art is so powerful it can bring two worlds together that are vastly different and allow them to collide into something beautiful. Classmate Terry, said, “For the past 20 years I have lived in a world devoid of color, emotion and hope. Yet, no matter how dark this place gets, I have found a way to transcend its limitations through art.”
“This art class is changing people on both sides of the fence. It allows these men a positive outlet to contribute and bring happiness to the world,” said Delane. “This show is the opportunity for them to be seen and recognized for their hard work and talent. Transcendence has been the catalyst that has changed their hearts, minds and lives. The bottom line is these men are coming out, having grown as artists and human beings.”
The Inaugural Showing of the Works by
Advances Artists of Allendale
Visit the Exhibit: July 30 - August 24, 2019
Opening Reception—All Are Invited!
August 7, 2019 • 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Walter Greer Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
Please Come Support this Amazing Show!
Gift cards to art supply stores and monetary donations can be delivered to Pink Magazine, 37 New Orleans Rd, Ste M, HHI (above Expressions Furniture).