Jail Arts: 2019-2020 Ceramic Project
In partnership with Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), the Bechtler offered residents in Detention Center Central and DC North the opportunity to participate in week-long ceramic residencies throughout 2019-2020. This is the first time residents have been given the opportunity to work with clay. The majority of participants had no prior ceramic experience, which gave them a chance to explore and learn a new skill. Inspired by Bechtler collection artist, Pablo Picasso, the participants were prompted to create a simple utilitarian vessel, using basic building techniques, including coils, slabs, and slipping and scoring. The vessels could then evolve into more ambitious forms such as pitchers and lidded jars, where decorative motifs of animals, faces, figures, and geometric designs can be seen. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on nature of the project allowing them to focus their energy on creation and self-expression. Residencies such as these help lower tension and stress in the facility while increasing positive connections between staff and participants.