Inmates in the John Howard Society of Manitoba’s (JHSM) literacy program sold their art calendars at an open house in support of a local family centre.
Institutional literacy co-ordinator Jacquie Nicholson said this is the first art calendar the inmates have created. They were being sold at the open house, held Dec. 19 at the JHSM office at 583 Ellice Ave., not at a fixed price but for whichever amount the customers wanted to donate.
"There is a sliding scale donation of $5 to $10," Nicholson said. "I think they’re worth more!"
Artwork in the calendars ranged from traditional aboriginal paintings to portraits. Each month in the calendar features a piece donated by an incarcerated artist. Pieces used in the calendar were made by inmates not just from Manitoba, but from Saskatchewan as well.
"There are quite a variety of styles," Nicholson said. "It’s all beautiful. The artists are all incredibly talented."
For the past several years, the inmates have chosen to do something to give back to the community. They’ve held fundraisers for several organizations, including Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre (510 King St.) and Norquay Community Centre (65 Granville St.). All proceeds from this year’s art calendars will go towards the Andrews Street Family Centre (ASFC) located at 220 Andrews St. in the North End.
"It’s a resource centre that primarily serves low-income families in the North End," Nicholson said.
ASFC executive director Dilly Knol said most of the monetary donations the centre receives goes towards food.
"We feed kids every day, and we feed people in the community three times a week," Knol said.
Nicholson said the inmates put on these fundraisers to begin to make reparations for the harm they’ve caused.
"I was honoured to have them pick (Andrews Street Family Centre) because, to me, it showed what we’re doing is obviously out there," Knol said. "The fact that those guys would think of us as a place to donate means that they believe we’re doing something right in and for the community."
Although the open house and calendar sale are over, the JHSM will continue to sell calendars into the new year. The organization will be closed until Jan. 3, so Nicholson said it’s best to call 204-775-1514 or email firstname.lastname@example.org any time after that date to place an order.
"We print the calendars ourselves," Nicholson said.
Calendars are available for pickup, and they can also be mailed out.
For more information, visit johnhoward.mb.ca