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Michener Art Museum receives support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

The support benefits the upcoming exhibition ‘Behind These Walls: Reckoning with Incarceration’

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The James A. Michener Art Museum announced major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for its upcoming exhibition Behind These Walls: Reckoning with Incarceration.

At the Michener, a Bucks County jail turned into an art institution in the 1980s, the exhibition will transform the way the museum interprets and presents the historical significance of its site. A diverse advisory committee led by local community leader Marlene Pray will initiate this project by considering the legacy of the Bucks County jail alongside contemporary questions around justice, equity and mass incarceration.

“We’re pleased to receive this significant support of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage as we continue to evolve as a venue where the people of our region creatively explore local history and public engagement,” said Vail Garvin, Michener’s executive director.

For Behind These Walls, the museum is commissioning an installation from Jackie Sumell, an award-winning, internationally-known artist whose work critiques incarceration by foregrounding and humanizing incarcerated people. Sumell will collaborate with community volunteers to plant and tend a “solitary garden” designed in correspondence with an incarcerated person. The solidary garden will be the size and layout of a standard prison cell, but it will be overtaken by plants chosen by the incarcerated “solitary gardener.”

Behind These Walls: Reckoning with Incarceration begins as the Michener celebrates its 35th anniversary year and furthers the museum’s commitment to acting as an inclusive and dynamic cultural hub for Bucks County that invites all people to participate in the creative legacy of the Greater Delaware Valley.

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