P.O. Box 526  |  Harleysville, PA  19438





Hope in Hard Times: Prisoner Art for Social Justice

sponsored by the Moravian Church’s Eastern District, was on exhibit at ArtsQuest’s Banana Factory Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA from March 1 – April 21. A Vigil for Hope in the Criminal Justice System was held on March 24 when Chester Hollman Jr., joined by Deanna Hollman, shared the tragic injustice of his son, Chester Hollman III’s wrongful conviction and sentence of life without parole in PA. First Fridays, March 1 and April 5, brought strong attendance from Lehigh Valley communities, schools and churches.


Moravian Theological Seminary displayed two portraits by Charles Z. Lawson from March 9 – April 9 at the Bahnson Center and sponsored, on March 19, two presentations by Tyrone Werts. Mr. Werts, incarcerated for 37 years in PA until his sentence of life without parole was commuted to life on parole by Gov. Rendell, traced injustice and racial oppression - from slavery to mass incarceration in his midday presentation. Mr. Werts’s evening presentation told his personal story – his youth, the crime that occurred, and his conviction to 2nd degree murder. He then detailed his experiences while incarcerated - earning his BA from Villanova University and serving as President of the PA Lifer’s Assoc. Since his release in 2011, Mr. Werts also spoke of his current work as Think Tank Coordinator with Temple University’s Inside/Out Program.


The “Hope” exhibit stimulated conversations among viewers about collective justice and individual worth in society. Many who saw the exhibit said and wrote that they were personally enriched by the experience. Some wrote that they were motivated to join organizations that call for comprehensive criminal justice reforms to address the injustices of our times.


Moravian Calvary Church’s Pastor Janel Rice, who had proposed the idea for the AfJ “Hope”  exhibit reflected, “Through the artwork and stories of incarcerated individuals we are invited to consider how art engages us in justice and advocacy questions for our time. Where is our shared humanity, incarcerated and free, and where are we being called in areas of criminal justice reforms? …through art, especially this art, we are reminded we are all human and deserve to be treated as such.”


WHO PAYS? The True Cost of Incarceration on

Families & Communities

February 1-28, 2019. Art for Justice and Johnson House Historic Site, Germantown, PA presented an exhibit of prisoner art to promote thought on ways to prevent crime, reduce levels of incarceration and find effective, humane ways to improve the Criminal Justice and Correction System.


February 8, Reception

Speakers included The Johnson House Board President, Pat Bass, Executive Director, Cornelia Swinson and Sponsor, Michael Buckley and AfJ Director, AMKirk. A highlight of the evening was Cameron Holmes’s reading of Daniel Gwynn’s “My Art/My Story. Zane Johnson, Managing Director of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, spoke about the stigma of criminal records and about the expungement process.


February 9, Workshop, Toward Healing, Justice & Community Transformation.

Facilitated by Kempis Songster, formerly incarcerated juvenile lifer, the Workshop examined the true costs of incarceration on families and communities. Locking up millions of people has had deep, devastating consequences and failed to deliver justice & safety for our communities. Discussion took place about facing fears & barriers that hinder hope and healing after violence and victimization. The group reimaged a system of justice that would improve public safety and not rely so exclusively on imprisonment.

Celeste Trusty, advocate for wrongly convicted, Deanna Hollman, Chester Hollman Jr., Dennis Crosson, private investigator and AFJ board member.

Staci Inez, reporter at "Hope" Exhibit

Kempis Songster at AFJ Exhibit at Johnson House Historic Site

Art for Justice - 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.