The paintings and video work of Mary DeWitt’s (ACG '15, '09, LTA '10, WOO '00, '03) will be on view in the Gelb Gallery, George Washington Hall, Phillips Academy, from April 13, 2016 through May 15. Reception & Gallery Talk for the community on Wednesday, April 13 from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. in the Gelb Gallery. Free and open to the public. An additional artist talk will be held in Kemper Auditorium, Elson Art Center, Phillips Academy on Tuesday, April 12 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Mary DeWitt completed her undergraduate work at Syracuse University where she immersed herself in figurative expressionism and social activism. In 1988, after completing her graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, she began working in prisons. Funded by the Inmate General Welfare Fund, the NEA and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, she taught painting to men and women in the state correctional system, traveling to various facilities throughout Pennsylvania.
In 1990, she became the Director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society Arts and Humanities Program, a position that allowed her to approach the staff and administration at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, a women’s maximum security prison, and asked if they would select a group of women they felt deserved to be pardoned from their life without parole sentences to participate in a program focused on bringing them visibility through portraiture.
This collaboration between Ms. DeWitt and Pennsylvania women inmates continues today with the added benefit of the internet and social media providing further exposure and a public voice.