DCSIMG

Offenders use art to keep away from crime

From left, Rebecca Lee, Amanda Lee and Nicola Garrity of the Women's Art Group with their work at The Harris Art Gallery

From left, Rebecca Lee, Amanda Lee and Nicola Garrity of the Women's Art Group with their work at The Harris Art Gallery

 

A woman who is among a group of offenders to produce an art exhibition in Preston says it has helped her express her emotions on paper instead of by committing crime.

Amanda Lee, who is being supervised by Lancashire Probation Trust, joined women aged between 25 and 40 to form a women’s art group,

All are on community based sentences imposed for theft, assault or alcohol related offences, which require them to be supervised by probation staff.

She said: “The art group originated from a visit to the Harris Museum.

“Looking at some pieces of artwork that we liked, we thought it would be a good way to express ourselves.

“It helped all of us express in a better manner our emotions on paper instead of by criminal behaviour. I’m now thinking about a creative writing course and with the help of Lancashire Probation, they’ve set me up a meeting with Achieve – which helps people into training, education and employment.”

Amanda’s artwork features brickwork with poems

It is among an exhibit depicting their ‘cycle of change’ – moving away from committing crimes.

The artwork project, titled Gold Dust, is to be exhibited in the Harris Museum’s community open gallery until January 25.

Working in partnership with the museum, the women have completed a total of five pieces of art work to show their individual journeys.

Each piece of art interprets the cycle of change and the journey they have taken to move away from offending behaviour to making a positive contribution to the communities in which they live.

Claire Ainsworth, probation officer, said: “From my experience of working with the girls from the beginning of their court orders I can honestly say that I have watched them grow mature. They are empathic, funny, respectful and insightful into each others needs and evidence in this in the way they treat each other and the general public.

“It has been a joy to work with them.”

Funding for the project was secured through Preston Council and matched by Lancashire Probation Trust to buy art material.

The project was launched in the summer with around eight women keen to participate.

Preston Council’s access and inclusion officer based at the Harris Museum led the art group with probation staff and met each week.

 

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