Behind the Wall

"Behind the Wall" is a traveling exhibition of drawings, paintings, letters, stories, and poems created by people in prison.

Exhibit at Seymour Library throughout the month of March

“Behind the Wall” is a traveling exhibition of drawings, paintings, letters, stories, and poems created by people in prison. It provides a window into the lives and imaginations of incarcerated people in our communities and beyond.

Mark your calendar with these Behind the Wall special events!

Exhibit Opening:
Thursday, March 2, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Join us for a Meet & Greet with exhibit coordinators. Refreshments provided by the Friends of Seymour Library. 

Auburn Prison: A History
Thursday, March 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Explore the history of the Auburn Prison with guest panelists David Connelly, (Retired Pulitzer-Prize winning newspaper editor, author, and adjunct philosophy instructor at Cayuga Community College); Lucien Lombardo, (Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University and author of Guards Imprisoned: Correctional Officers at Work; Co-Editor of Prison Violence in America, 2nd Ed) and Jaclyn Kolb, (Wells College graduate and Community Services Coordinator at Seymour Library).

More about Behind the Wall

Nearly 2 million Americans live in jails, prisons, and detention centers, all but invisible to the rest of the world. Many struggle with isolation, loneliness, and a lack of a sense of purpose. Creative self-expression helps them process their experiences, build their skills, and communicate their thoughts and feelings with others. Yet little of what they produce reaches people on the outside.

The artworks and writings in “Behind the Wall” were collected by Prisoner Express, a project of Durland Alternatives Library at Cornell University, and curated by Ithaca-area artist Treacy Ziegler

Prisoner Express uses newsletters, book exchanges, and art and creative writing programs to foster hope and a sense of community among incarcerated people around the country. The project currently reaches 4,000 prisoners and has served more than 37,000 since its founding two decades ago.

“Behind the Wall” is organized by Story House Ithaca, a community organization devoted to bringing people together to share, study, create, and enjoy stories in all their forms. Both Story House Ithaca and Prisoner Express are projects of the nonprofit Center for Transformative Action

“Behind the Wall” is presented in collaboration with the Finger Lakes Library System and supported by an action grant from Humanities NY

Exhibit Schedule

March 2023: Seymour Public Library (Auburn)
April 2023: Seneca Falls Library (Seneca Falls)
May 2023: Coburn Free Library (Owego)
June 2023: Cortland Free Library (Cortland)