- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Organizers are planning an art exhibit featuring work by female inmates as part of a larger effort to prepare them for life after release from incarceration.

Women inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center and girls from the Youth Services Center will be featured in “Unconfined: Empowering Women through the Arts,” which aims to celebrate inmates’ stories through art, the Bernalillo County Cultural Services and the Southwest Women’s Law Center announced last week.

Nan Masland, public art project coordinator for cultural services at Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the idea was born after the law center approached the department on showcasing work by women preparing to reintegrate into society.

Masland, who has taught art to inmates, said the department wants to work with the women in all stages of their art making careers.

Part of that process is giving incarcerated females the creative outlets they need to express themselves and tell their stories, said Masland.

“We want them to focus on something other than their current situation at the moment,” Masland said.

In addition, women artists who live in New Mexico are invited to submit work for the show.

The exhibit will be held in March in celebration of national Women’s History Month. Organizers say the exhibit will be on display at the African American Performing Arts Center Gallery.

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