The Art of Conviction is a multi-faceted exhibition on display Monday – Friday. 8am -4:30 pm through August 15. The artwork on exhibit illustrates a much larger picture than the ones on the wall. It’s a purposeful display of artwork.
The 42 piece collection of colorful flowers, animals, landscapes and architectural drawings are generated by 29 artists who are on death row all over the country. The death row artists have donated their artwork to the Compassion Project a program initiated by inmates serving time on death row but managed by a non profit board based in Perrysburg, affiliated with St Rose Parish in Perrysburg. All the proceeds generated from the sale of the art go directly into a scholarship fund for family members of murder victims. To date the Compassion Project has awarded 26 scholarships since 2003. The most recent award was gifted to a Pennsylvania teenager, salutatorian of her class, who is heading to the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her father was stabbed to death five years ago.
It is important to note The prisoners have nothing to gain personally through their artwork donation . It is an act of restitution. The condemned artists aren’t asking for forgiveness, expecting respect, or recognition, they are simply using their creativity, and talent productively to contribute artwork to sell for the scholarship.
The Compassion Project idea began in 2001 with a death row prisoner who reached out to Fred Moor of Perrysburg. Mr Moor along with his late business partner, Ken Cappelletty, and former Perrysburg mayor Martha Baldoni put the pieces together to form the Compassion Project to serve the purpose of building something positive (compassion ) on both sides of the walls. All funding is handled by the Compassion Project board of trustees based out of St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg.
The artwork on display is interesting art. In many cases lovely flower arrangements, airy landscapes, pastoral scenes and in one case a comic strip illustrating life on death row with tinges of humor . The work ranges in price from $25.00-$125.00 most with brand new framing courtesy of an anonymous national framing company. The exhibit pieces are conversation starters and thought provoking when considering the source. The quality of the art more often than not surprises the viewer.
The Compassion art program has proved itself as a catalyst to turn the outrage that follows murder into a healing and forgiveness mechanism on both sides of the fence. The value parameters of the Compassion Project keep the inmates focused on the purpose of their art donations and perhaps gives them a sense of personal redemption. On the other side of the fence the recipients getting an education on a Compassion scholarship has healing beyond the gift that keeps on giving for someone who has suffered a loss through an act of murder. Knowledge is a power. The gift of knowledge is even more powerful when compassion is the root of the gift.
For more information about the Compassion Project check out compassionondeathrow.net. To purchase a work of art please contact Fred Moor 419 874-1333