Special Report: Art From Behind Bars


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — When you’re behind bars, you have nothing but time.

Some inmates spend their days drawing.

10 On Your Side learned there is a lot of talent inside the local jails. Now, some of the work by these inmate artists is on display for all to see — thanks to a program called “Beyond the Block”, which is in its second year. 

The Virginia Beach City Jail, Norfolk City Jail and Hampton Roads Regional Jail hooked up with the Chrysler Museum to have an exhibit of the inmates’ art.

William Croom — who has since been released — told 10 On Your Side it’s nice to be recognized.

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you take your time. I guess anybody could end up here where I am now, make the one bad decision,” Croom said.

“We mistakes and some get caught,” said Virginia Beach inmate Jonathan Lacount said.

Lacount has been in jail for about 18 months on drug charges. He, like many of the other inmates, spend their days drawing.

“I was actually a struggling artist on the street at home,” Lacount added.

“There’s actually a lot of really good people in here,” said Virginia Beach inmate Brian Mangum.  “There are some amazing artists in here.”

That includes Brian Mangum who has struggled with alcohol.

“Someone leaves you, you’re sad and lonley you go to drinking,” Mangum added.  “Someone dies.  You go to drinking.”

“It is a little embarrassing being in jail,” Croom said.

Croom was in the Norfolk jail for drunk driving.

All three inmates are part of the program. The exhibit lasts until Jan. 13.

“If they didn’t tell you, you would never think they had butter, a Dortios bag and magazines in it,” said one man looking at a painting.

Program organizers say next year the plan is to add even more jails into the mix.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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