• RiverBird by Michael Sheets, watercolor and ink on paper.
    RiverBird by Michael Sheets, watercolor and ink on paper.

Inmate art unveiled

SPRUCE PINE – Inmates at the Avery Mitchell Correctional Institute have done their part to decorate the inside of Fox and the Fig coffee shop on Oak Avenue in Spruce Pine. 

Twelve inmates recently completed a drawing class taught by Daniel Beck, Sarah Rose Lejeune and Rachel Meginnes, who are all affiliated with Penland School of Crafts. 

After completing the class, inmates submitted final sketches for the “Inside Out: Sketches from the Inside” display at Fox and the Fig. Below the artwork is a notebook where the inmates left notes about their pieces, why they like drawing or what they learned during the class. 

The pieces will be displayed until May 19. The exhibit opened with a reception this past Saturday. 

Beck said the drawing classes, which began this past January, catered to the various skill levels of the inmates. 

“We tried to do it in a way where it was whatever they wanted to learn,” he said. “They were down for whatever so we came up with a little curriculum. We found out early on they were a lot more talented than we are at drawing.

“It has evolved into more of an art club.We’ll continue with it starting back up in May.”

Beck said the inmates were happy to hear their pieces would be displayed in a public venue. 

“It’s a way to focus their attention,” Beck said. “They can build skills and kill time. They want people to know that they are in there trying to better themselves and trying to hone a craft.”

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616