The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage awarded the museum with a large grant for the 2024 exhibition “Behind These Walls: Reckoning with Incarceration.” The museum, whose property was once a jail until it was made into an art hub in the 1980s, will discuss concepts of incarceration in the exhibit, as well as its own past as a prison in the area.
An advisory committee, which will be led by local community leader Marlene Pray, will initiate this project. The themes of the exhibition, as well as a detailed history of the Bucks County jail, will be important parts of next year’s showing.
For the exhibition, the museum is commissioning an installation from jackie sumell, whose work critiques incarceration by foregrounding and humanizing incarcerated people.
“sumell will collaborate with community volunteers to plant and tend a ‘solitary garden’ designed in correspondence with an incarcerated person,” the museum said online. “The solitary garden will be the size and layout of a standard prison cell, but it will be overtaken by plants chosen by the incarcerated ‘solitary gardener.'”
Learn more about the grant and the upcoming exhibition at the Michener Art Museum.