Does anyone swap art with prisoners (either prisoners of conscience or others) or other "outsiders" to society? I'm really keen to hear about how mailart is applied to these marginalised groups. I think that it has huge potential for rehabilitation of prisoners and in art therapy, as well as bringing a ray of light into some lives.



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As it is almost Christmas, maybe "we" could send some Mail art to sick children?

That's a great idea Tinne. I'll see if I can get the suggestion up on my site at

Hey Andy! Actually I've been part of a prison ministry where we write prisioners here in California. It's not a particularly religious thing and I've sent art cards. My guys are lifers and are incredibly grateful for an communication from the outside. As far as art goes the system is extremely rigid about any treatment (paint, certain types of ink etc) that goes in. It's all cencored of course so they also don't allow any human anatomy showing below the waist! See, drugs can and are smuggled within some of the types of cards. Weird but true. One of our members does hand painted, very delicate cards (she's from India) and sent one to my inmate. He was thrilled. He's yet to do any visual art but does send poetry. They have very little money and so we send them stamps as well. Actually some of the cards, they can and do, use as 'currency' inside. The guys may put it up on their cell wall or use it to write and send to family, friends.

any news....? We could start a special group for this (in and out of Prison).

Un projet passé de Rachel Mc Donnell (USA-2011), peut-être une possibilité de continuer à correspondre avec ces prisonniers ?

A voir...

A past project of Rachel Mc Donnell (USA-2011), maybe a possibility of continuing to correspond with these prisoners?
To see...

great idea ! art workshop of local PH make yearly show ;

Hi - thought my upcoming project would be of interest to this group!

I'm organizing a mail art exhibition in October 2012 for the Prison Library Project. (8th year!) I put out a call for art in August! I'll keep you posted. I welcome art from inmates! Most US prisons no longer allow inmates to decorate or illustrate envelopes, but artwork from those inside (and their friends and family) is a powerful way to advocate for our book project.

Here is some history:

For many years, inmates from around the country wrote to the Prison Library Project and we were amazed by the wonderful artwork that accompanied requests for books. These beautiful illustrations were our inspiration for a mail art exhibition and fundraiser. Postmarked was created for the Claremont Forum's Prison Library Project, which sends books free to prisoners in the U.S. upon their request. Providing education and opportunity to learn about mail art, view new and established mail artists' works, and to participate in the experience of creating and sending mail art. Now in its 8th year, this exhibition is one of the largest in California.

I'll be setting up a new info blog soon: here is last year's blog so you can see some of the artwork:

You can read more about the Prison Library Project at

I just found this posting from you. I'm not very computer savy. I have a  beautiful piece given to me by my prisoner for Mother's Day. Can it be included in the 2012 project? You're right about decorating the envelopes. California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo will confiscate any human form below the waist and carfully scrutinize all ink or glue in their cencership of mail.

HI Andy,

I've been meaning to write you for ages. Sorry it took so long. When I think of outsider art I think of art by developmentally disabled people and people dealing with mental health issues. These are people with absolutely no knowledge or connection to "standard" art venues, history or processes. Their art comes from their own internal need to create. And some amazing art is created! See an art magazine called Raw Vision for the type of art I am referring to. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and we have three art centers in the area for outsider artists. They are Creative Growth, Creativity Explored and NIAD Art Center.

I would love to do mail art with these folks, but I don't know how it could be set up. Probably many would need help with the logistics of exchanging mail. But it seems like it could be rewarding for all parties.




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