Our Mission is to support and exhibit art by incarcerated individuals to promote dialogue on ways to:
Promote public dialog on ways to prevent crime, Reduce levels of incarceration. & Find effective, humane ways to improve the criminal justice system
AfJ Exhibit: Incarcerated Artists’ Creations from Within
Sponsored & Hosted by the Moravian Center of Lancaster and the Islamic Community Center of Lancaster, was featured during the nine week event - Paint, Prison, and Possibilities: Conversations About Justice, Oct. 1 – Nov. 28, 2021. Pastor Mandy Mastros organized four Panel Discussions focused on Solitary Confinement, Reentry, Art as a Human Right, and the Lancaster County Prison. Representatives from seventeen Organizations, Returning Citizens, Survivors of Solitary Confinement, Artists, and Advocates participated in public and small group conversations.
Pastor Mandy’s reflections of the exhibit: “Meaningful parts of the Art for Justice exhibit were the interactions I had with so many individuals from this community who are passionate about issues of criminal justice and/or who have been impacted by the criminal justice system in some way. The persons who came to see the art were often in awe of the talent and raw emotion they saw in the pieces. It was a blessing to be surrounded by the artwork and the stories that the work conveys, deepening my passion for the work that we do here to increase the awareness of our shared humanity. I am grateful to Art for Justice for bringing this art, the increased awareness, and the call for us to do more in Lancaster County.”
The artists whose work was on view during the exhibit included: Charles Z. Lawson, Daniel Gwynn, Rene Ortiz, Eduard Ramirez, and George Lopez.
Portraits of Philadelphia
Works by Charles Zafir Lawson, Co-Founder of Art for Justice (AfJ)
Charles Zafir Lawson, serving life without parole at Phoenix SCI in PA, is a self – taught artist. Mr. Lawson began to paint as a way to save his sanity and to call out the injustice and oppression in the criminal justice system. Charles Lawson’s thought provoking, inspirational art has been exhibited by AfJ at over 100 venues and events. Many of the murals in Philadelphia created by the Mural Arts Program were painted by individuals incarcerated at Graterford Prison – Charles Lawson’s portraiture is seen in the faces in some of these murals. Mr. Lawson is also to Co-Creator of the Road Map for Life Workshops for Youth.
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PRISONER ART FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
AFJ - Shows the humanity behind bars. Brings awareness to systemic flaws in the criminal justice system. Seeks solutions to eliminate injustice.
* Artworks are either privately owned or have been donated to Art for Justice.