PENDLETON - An exhibit of artwork by inmates at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution is on display in the main gallery at the Pendleton Arts Center through April 5.

The exhibit's theme, "Expression of our Heritage through Art," is carried out through many of the watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, sketches and wood sculptures.

The staff at the prison encourages creative expression through artwork and literature, said Doug Harder, a spokesperson for the prison. The exhibit is in the same spirit as last September's concert, "Celebration of Culture through Music."

The artwork, just as the rehearsals for the concert, is all done on the inmates' off time. They still are expected to keep a full work schedule.

Many of the art supplies are donated or purchased by the inmates, especially for the individually-created projects, Harder said. Sale of group-created craft items form a pool of money that is used for supplying materials for those projects, so there is no cost to the institution or the taxpayers.

Creative expression through art promotes cooperation between the staff and inmates and between the inmates themselves, Harder said. It also has a calming effect and promotes the institution's goal of transitioning the inmates back into the community.

The exhibit will continue on display through April 5. The Arts Center, 214 N. Main, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, contact the Arts Center, 278-9201.

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