How you can see artwork created by prison inmates in the Chippew - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

How you can see artwork created by prison inmates in the Chippewa Valley

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Artwork by inmates from around the Dairy State is now on display in the Chippewa Valley.

The 92 art pieces stemmed from a project an Eau Claire church, 513free, started called the Pen Project. Through prison ministry, 513free employees create relationships with inmates throughout the state of Wisconsin.

The project allows inmates to submit their artwork and writings to the Pen Project website. Now, the original pieces are on display at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls.

The official exhibit opened on Wednesday, and will run until Feb. 15.

Michael Sandvig, director of the Pen Project said the project is something inmates can use as therapy while they build relationships with the ministry and work on their struggles and hardships.

"With inmates, just being able to have their artwork here and even to have their stories published in the Pen Project really just brings awareness that they are people, and that a lot of these people have changed," Sandvig said. "They've gotten through their addictions and their struggles, and it's really encouraging them to move forward," Sandvig said.

Sandvig has worked one-on-one with some of the artists. He said art helps the inmates tell their story and it also gives them their voices back.

Admission for the art display is free and will be on display at the Heyde Center for the Arts every Monday through Thursday, and one hour before any shows at the venue.

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