The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

NOW VIRTUAL: Hobby Craft: Artwork from the Arizona State Prison Complex

The Reason
Enjoy Life
Road to Paradise
Hobby Craft Sponsor

January 17 – August 30, 2020

Scroll down to see this exhibition’s virtual assets. Please visit our Public Health page for closure updates.

For those who are incarcerated, creating artwork is a privilege. In fact, the Arizona Department of Corrections has specific guidelines devoted to regulations concerning incarcerated people creating art. It refers to this Earned Incentive Program as “Hobby Craft.”

Based on the security and incentive levels of the individual, Hobby Craft privileges vary. At the most basic level, artists may choose from origami or pencil and paper. Increased incentive levels mean access to a wider range of materials, such as watercolor or glue. Incarcerated people are allowed a maximum of three arts and craft materials. There are no Hobby Craft privileges for people on Death Row.

Throughout the summer of 2019, staff from the UAMA and the UArizona Department of English’s Prison Education Project led art appreciation, label writing and art jurying workshops at seven units of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson. During the fall, each prison unit held their own art exhibition based on the theme of “resilience,” and fellow incarcerated people determined the jury and the process by which the artwork was judged. Through this process, each yard selected three to four works of art for display in this exhibition. Therefore, the works in this exhibition were not selected by museum curators, but rather by a jury of the artists’ peers from within the prison.

As this exhibition demonstrates, the human impulse to create art often transcends limited access to materials and limited movement. You will notice an inventive procurement of and use of materials and a variety of themes. In this, we hope you will see that the creative act itself reveals incredible resilience.


“As the Program Coordinator for the project, it is an honor to plan and offer educational opportunities to engage my incarcerated neighbors. I believe the more we celebrate the human in each of us, the more it strengthens our sense of community.”
-Celeste O’Brien, Program Coordinator, Prison Education Project

“Prison education is a field that’s easy to get addicted to. The students on the yard are eager to learn, quick to ask questions, and always on the lookout for opportunities to grow. All of the University of Arizona lecturers we have brought out to the prison say the same thing: this is the most engaged audience they have ever spoken to. The artists I have spoken with are thrilled to have their works displayed in this exhibit. It gives them a chance to reach out beyond the walls, to communicate with the outside world.”
-Dr. Marcia Klotz, Assistant Professor, Director of Prison Education Project; Assistant Professor in English

The artists RRyRZ will be selling hand printed bandannas at each event associated with the exhibition Hobby Craft. The print is one-of-kind, designed by Racheal Rios and printed on DouglaPrieta Works women’s cooperative bandannas. All proceeds benefit The Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund.

Associated Events
1/16 – Opening Celebration for Other TARGET/s and Hobby Craft
3/19 – Education and Art in Prison: Discovering Energy, Curiosity and Talent Behind Bars

This exhibition is generously supported by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Images: J.M., The Reason, 2019, acrylic paint on watercolor paper; K.R., Enjoy Life, 2019, colored pencil and marker on file folder; S.G., Road to Paradise, 2019, acrylic paint on canvas