Baran-Unland: How is "Art from the Ashes" different from the exhibit at the Great Joliet Prison Break-In?
Zigrossi: This differs from the prison event in the summer in the fact that it will last 6 months. New Art pieces that were not in the event over the summer will also be in this exhibit, one specifically created by Sue Regis.
Baran-Unland: Why should people – even children – see this exhibit?
Zigrossi: We have created a synergistic partnership between Preservation and Art and we believe the history of the Old Joliet Prison is something for all people, even children, to embrace. The artists created their work inspired by the architecture of the site, the famous history (Blues Brothers), the criminal history, justice system reform, etc. Each artists uniquely tells a story and these 47 pieces are the foundation of our group.
Baran-Unland: What is the value to the community of making art from prison material?
Zigrossi: Joliet has a huge art scene that is begging to be embraced and discovered. This is one very exciting glimpse into the talent represented locally. The task itself however, is repurposing a lot of these burnt, unsalvageable materials rather than just throwing them away. In "Phase 2" more artists may be brought in the group and more pieces will be created – these second round pieces would potentially be sold or up for auction with the funds benefiting the Museum and the site preservation which would also benefit the community.